I have always loved books and envisaged that in retirement there would be ample opportunity to read the piles of novels that pervade so many rooms in our home. If truth be known, whilst I certainly find the time to read more than I did before I retired, I am still making slow progress in getting through what is probably at least one lifetime's worth of reading material within our four walls.
I am a member of a reading group which meets every six weeks to discuss a chosen book and in between I always try to read another two or three books. I have fairly broad tastes in literature, reading everything from Milton and Chaucer to contemporary writers, of whom my favourites are Ian McEwan and Sebastian Faulks. I usually avoid science fiction, however, and, when in need of simple, no-thought entertainment, immerse myself in an easy to read chick-lit.
Holidays, especially whilst travelling on aeroplanes, are a great time for reading. Last week was no exception although, conscious of the limitation on baggage weight, we took the Kindle as well as a couple of paperbacks apiece. Amongst my selection was Ian McEwan's last book (now in paperback), "The Children Act."
I know that it is a work of fiction, and perhaps it is still early days to be reading a novel about an area of work that I practised in or maybe it is a credit to the brilliance of the author, for it felt authentic. The main character has in her own words wedded herself to her career and in so doing forsaken so much, including we are told with alarming insight, even the time to care for her feet where her toe nails suffer from a fungal infection! Ugh, definitely too much information.
For me, however, there was no fantasy in the subject matter or characters; they could have been real. It was an accurate portrayal and, therefore, reminder of past times spent on a very different treadmill to that which I now use in the gym. Normally reading a book is a period of pure escapism; for me this was a return to working life.
I have of necessity, therefore, resolved that my future holiday reading material will bear no relationship to reality even if it does mean that I am sentencing myself to a diet of HG Wells or even modern zombie fiction, of which to date I have read nothing. I have always said that I want retirement to be a cocktail of new experiences!