The Reading Challenge; Book One

lead-booksI have been having a clear out.  It seems that I am something of a hoarder, which came as a massive surprise to me though as it turns out not to my husband or others who know me.  It started when I dropped the iron on the living room carpet. A series of expletives followed as I flailed about and grabbed it but not before the trademark triangle was burned into the blue pile.

I tried many unsuccessful attempts at trying to fix it myself.  Google ‘iron burn in carpet’ and a whole load of advice on ways to fix, cover and mend appear one even using blocks of ice. NONE work. Unless it is in a corner of the room and you can cover it over with a piece of new furniture or some sort of potted plant or magazine stand , that burn is there to stay.  Thank fully as it turns out I have accidental damage on my contents insurance and this is a regular call they get! So how does this fit into the clear out?  Well a few calls with insurance company later to establish the validity of my claim (was it truthful or was a trying to pull a new carpet scam) they sent round a man to assess it person and to help me pick out a replacement. I have a lot of heavy furniture for a small flat which we were told would have to be cleared by us when the new carpet came.  Several thousand trips into spare room and bedroom with box upon box of stuff from shelves and cupboards and then seeing a virtually empty room which was ginormous in comparison to how it was before made me realise I have too much stuff. The stuff made the room feel cluttered and small, not the furniture (as I had always thought).

Clearing out the shelves made me realise just how many books I had, many that I knew I didn’t want to read again and many I had never read and in all honesty don’t even remember  how they came to be in my possession.  Probably from my University days or previous flatmates, but somehow there they are, never having been read and sitting on my shelf.

So this is how the reading challenge started.  Once I had delivered the old but loved but never to be read again members of my collection to a couple of wonderful charity shops, I placed all the unread, unknown entities in their own section. I have challenged myself to read all of them before buying any more books (work research not included).

Book Number One:  The Long Way Round by Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman

This is definitely something I wouldn’t have bought myself to read. I didn’t see the series, I have no interests in bikes and assumed it would just be about men who love bikes so therefore not for me.  How wrong was I!

I haven’t been able to put it down. It has journeyed with me to meetings. It is now covered in crumbs from breakfast, lunch and dinner. It kept me wonderfully distracted when my husband was in hospital last week.

Yes it is about men who love bikes, but they really love these bikes and you cannot help but be caught up in their excitement for the machines and how they carry them across the world.  We follow Ewan and Charley as they travel from London to New York.  Charting the Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia across the Pacific to Alaska then Canada and America, It reads like personal diary entries from each of them, it appears to be brutally honest with their personal reactions to the hazards they face on the road, with strangers and with themselves. The description of the beauty they saw and the people they meet is what any great travel book is about. And having only sat on the back of a small moped in Bali, I now really want to get on a bike.




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