Explore the joy of reading on Book Lovers Day

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Today is Book Lovers Day, a time to celebrate books and to encourage more people to discover the joys of reading.  The idea of a day to love books seems a bit weird to this bibliophile!  Books are a constant in my life and have been a source of immense pleasure, discovery and learning since I could read. 

As I write this, the bookcase right next to me looms large and seems to whisper in my ear “come read me, you know you want to”.  The books calling to me are an eclectic mix of subjects, with lots of science, nature, personal development and sci-fi with a dash of linguistics and creative writing guides thrown in for good measure.  I usually have at least three books on the go at the same time and I switch between them depending on my mood.  One is usually on an academic or adult development topic, another is a science or nature book and the third is science-fiction, occasionally swapped for a book about how to write, or another genre entirely.

The broad mix is because I read for several reasons …

Geeking out

Sometimes my inner geek (ok, not so inner!) has got intrigued about a new academic or developmental subject and I want to understand it more deeply.  In a recent blog, I summarised the 10 books that our CEO Dr Alan Watkins has written – if you’re interested in leadership development, then there’s plenty to choose from.  Alan also writes powerful thought leadership books in other fields.  I’ve learnt so much from reading his books, alongside other thought leaders, scientists, and academics.

Getting close to nature

Sometimes the amateur naturalist in me has found a new part of nature to get to know – I’ve just bought a guide to the insects of the British Isles (bugs are cool, really!).  I’ve written a few articles this year about my passion for nature, so it will come as no surprise to many of you that there are plenty of nature guides in my collection.  You can often find me in my spare time, examining photos I’ve taken of flowers or insects with a guidebook propped up on my lap as I try to identify what it is and tick it off the list.  I was a teenage stamp collector, so this is just a natural evolution of the collector’s mentality.


And then the original primal reason that got me hooked on books in the first place – escapism.  There’s nothing quite like settling into a favourite chair and immersing myself in the fictional world a novelist has created.  And I escape most easily and sink most deeply when reading science-fiction.  You may have dismissed this genre as just aliens and spaceship nonsense – some of it is!  But it’s also a rich and diverse genre that includes tales that are in essence detective stories, epic future histories, intimate psychological portraits, and profound philosophical commentaries.  The common thread in the sci-fi that I love is that it holds up a mirror to human nature and shows us who we are from a unique perspective.

From reading to writing

As I delve into writing sci-fi myself, I’ve come to appreciate great writing even more – particularly when it has some evolutionary impact.  Maybe it reveals some new piece of knowledge that integrates into your understanding and expands your perspective.  Maybe it challenges your assumptions or jolts you awake in some way – as the jigsaw piece slots in it magically changes the picture you thought you were building. Or maybe it opens up a whole new vista, your perception is forever transformed, and your world will never be the same again.  All that from ink on a page.  How wonderful is that!

To my fellow bibliophiles, I’d love to hear why you read and what you get from the experience.  Who’s your favourite author?  Mine is Ursula K. Le Guin.  And if you’re not a big reader, I hope I’ve sparked a little curiosity to pick up a book and dive in.  Go on, you know you want to …

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