Well, I’ve come to the end of Carrie K’s Ireland Reading Challenge and loved every minute of it. A latecomer (I’m new to reading challenges), I read six books in seven weeks, and started out quite confident about my ability to complete the task, especially as two of my choices were re-reads. But I got distracted along the way by an unexpected last-minute holiday, embroidery, Ted Hughes, Rupert Bear and The Phantom Tollbooth.
I fell slightly behind schedule (especially with writing) and had a bit of a rush to catch up in Week Six, but I seem to have managed quite well – following a timetable focused the way I read in a more structured way. Normally I have a bit of a scatter-gun approach to reading, with several books on the go at once, and I dip in and out of them depending on my mood, and I’ve also got a tendency to go off at a tangent, researching the period in which a book is set, or learning about the author, or reading similar books.
I enjoyed the process of selecting books with an Irish connection, and trying to ensure I had some kind of variety of styles, and a balance between old favourites and authors I had never read before. It was like having my own Man Booker long list, which had to be pared down to a few final names. Fortunately, however, I’m not required to pick a winner, but if I were it would probably be Seamus Heaney.
Best of all was seeing what other people have been reading. There were some fascinating choices, with surprisingly little duplication, and a huge variety of titles, across a range of genres: classics, chick lit, romance, short stories, children’s books, crime… It means I now have another long list of recommended ‘to be reads’ to add to the ‘possibles’ that I didn’t choose for this challenge – so perhaps my Irish ‘journey’ isn’t over yet!