I used to love reading.
I used to love galivanting up to my local library and spending forever reading blurbs to make sure I had the best selection of books crammed into my suitcase for holiday.
I could easily get through three in a week. Even if said holiday was a boozy Magaluf or Malia kinda get-up where I’d likely be in an alcohol haze from the moment my feet touched Gatwick Airport to the moment I rolled on home with some sort of mystery swine-flu illness and a Henna tattoo.
But then something changed – the type of holidays I took changed. They were no longer lounging around the pool with the girls kinda holidays, they were work holidays, filled with packed itineraries and no time to reply to emails or upload to Instagram, let alone steam-roll through a pile of carefully chosen books.
And so now my allocated reading time has cut right on back. I don’t commute. And I struggle with the idea of just reading for fun. Not because I don’t love that feeling of getting totally absorbed into an unknown, magical tale, but because I get reading guilt.
For me, reading is best in large chunks. Not just 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there, but a good solid long book session. The type when you basically fall into the story, you feel like you’re right in there with the characters, living and breathing the words. And life, well life, is busy. I feel like my to-do list is ever growing, and whenever I sit down, even to just enjoy a cup of coffee without my eyes darting about on a computer screen, I feel so much guilt. Relaxation guilt, that’s what we’ll call it.
I suffer from relaxation guilt.
I haven’t chain watched a boxset in forever. I haven’t watched all the HP films in a row for funsies since I dunno when, and I haven’t let myself just settle on the sofa with a blanket and a book since, erm, maybe 2012.
So this weekend I did it. I read a book. My head was swamped with jet lag and I couldn’t bring myself to do anything. No ironing, no blogging, no video editing, no TV.
And, what happened was, I finished the book in 7 and a half hours straight.
Basically, I was sent Sophie Kinsella’s new book Finding Audrey to review, and well, everything else is history.
I’ve been a long time reader of her stuff, having frequently added everything and anything from the Confessions Of A Shopaholic series to my library pile back in my holiday reading days.
This new book is aimed at a bit of a younger audience, think more teens, so I didn’t expect to y’know, read it in 7 and a half hours straight. But it focuses on mental health and is written so perfectly and it’s everything. I wish I’d had it when I was younger. I wish there’d been something out there that could explain my head as easily, and cool-y and funnily as she did in Finding Audrey.
It reminded me of living with my brothers, of fancying boys and of feeling crazy. Flat-out crazy.
Chris kept catching me giggling to myself and kept giving me looks of disdain, but y’know, what does he know about great literature.
I adored the writing style. It felt exactly how I’d love my book to sound and little snippets sounded like something I could have written. Y’know that whole writing like you’re chatting to a friend thing? It’s EXACTLY like that.
And the main character, Audrey, wears black sunglasses all the time and it made me assume she looks like Jenna from Pretty Little Liars, so make of that what you will.
So yeah, I *think* I’m back on the reading wagon – and I’d love to hear your suggestions for easy-to-read stuff that’ll engross me and make my heart flutter a bit, the way this Kinsella charmer did.
AND, if you fancy winning yourself a copy for your upcoming holiday (or commute, or sofa time, or before bed time, or well, for any damn time you like) then drop me a tweet (at @Hannahfgale) with a line of your favourite emojis and the hashtag #FindingAudrey.
I’ll pick a winner (with the best emojis obvs…) tomorrow evening, to give you more than a sweet, sweet 24 hours to enter.
So, err yeah, tweet me before 6pm 29th June 2015 and prepare to get utterly and completely lost in a book. Good luck, dreamboats.
This is a sponsored post but all views are my own, obvs.