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Falling Back in Love With Reading

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I have always loved to read. As a very young girl, I was always at my happiest when I had my nose in a book. I recall devouring Enid Blyton's Malory Towers series by torchlight under my bedcovers. Long car journeys to Devon with the family provided even more bonus reading hours and I could easily get through a whole book in a single trip. I absorbed myself in those stories and remember begging my parents to send me off to boarding school so I could replicate the life on the pages for myself.

As I grew older, my love of reading continued. I think I must have read Little Women over 15 times as a teenager. Other favourites included Jane Eyre, Emma and The Outsiders.

I would become so engrossed in the characters and their stories that I'd easily lose entire weekends to books.

In fact you would rarely find me without a book on the go. They became my constant companion on my commute to work, on flights and on lazy summer days in the park. I could not imagine a time when I would not read.

Then, I had a baby.

Like most pregnant women, I had envisioned my maternity leave being the time when I would finally get round to reading all those classics gathering dust on our bookshelf. I even thought I might have a bit of time to write a book of my own! Oh, how naïve I was...

Unfortunately, the only books I got round to reading during the first few months of my son's life, were sleep training books, weaning books and Twilight. When I returned to work a year later, the only books I was reading were children's bedtime stories.

I started reading to my son from the day he was born. He did not understand a word of course, or even look at the pictures, but I like to think he enjoyed listening to my voice before he fell asleep. He is now 2½ years old and reading is his absolute favourite activity. He will ask to go to bed early, excited for his story. He has memorised every single word from his favourite Mr Men books, so I'll often find him in his room, flicking through the pages of Mr Bounce and narrating the story out loud to his toys. His love of reading is evident and long may it continue.

However, my own love of reading is more of a distant memory these days. I have a growing pile of books on my bedside table that I have good intentions of starting every day, but I am so shattered from working full-time and raising a toddler that I usually just crash out as soon as my head hits the sofa.

Weekends are filled with play-dates, family, friends and tackling the laundry. Much like going to the cinema, reading has become something that I used to do and much like high heels and size 10 jeans, books have become something that really only belong in the life I used to live.

Recently, I have turned to blogs or magazines to accompany a lunchtime sandwich at my desk and this has suited me well, simply because of their length and ease of reading in the 30 minutes or so that I have.

However, Galaxy Quick Reads recently launched eight new books written by some of the world's best-selling authors including Maeve Binchy, Tony Parsons, Alexander McCall Smith and Lynda La Plante. Each book is short and easy to read so I managed to finish Quantum of Tweed, by Conn Uggulden, during a couple of lunch breaks at work, and it felt absolutely marvellous!

I'd forgotten how much I love reading books and I suppose over time, had gotten out of the habit too, but rediscovering the sheer pleasure that comes from sitting down with a good book was totally addictive.

With my restored confidence in my ability to start a book and actually finish it, I made a start on The Cleverness of Ladies, by Alexander McCall Smith, this week.

You never know, I might even progress back up to a full sized novel again one of these days!

Galaxy Quick Reads books are available in high street bookstores, major supermarkets, libraries, via iTunes and online, and are priced at £1.99 each.

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