It’s been twelve years since I began commuting into London with work each day. For the better part of two years I would get up at 6am each day, catch the 7am train towards London, traverse the Underground network, and arrive at Liverpool Street a little before 9am. Two hours each way – four hours on trains each day.
When reminiscing with friends about my time working in London, they invariably presume it must have been a living nightmare – and are then surprised when I tell them I sort of miss it.
During the two years I commuted into and out of London, I read more books than at any other time in my life. I doubt I have read as many books in the ten years since than I read during those two.
Of course the main reason the reading time vanished was children. In January of 2008 we went from zero to three children overnight – after the adoption went through. From that point onwards my life became filled with washing up, tidying up, and picking up – by the time I sat down on an evening the thought of picking up a book became an afterthought.
I remember one of our final holidays before children arrived in our lives – we hired a cottage on the south coast – near Chesil Beach – and read books during the evenings for an entire week. No television, no radio, no internet – just books, board games, and conversation.
Where am I going with this?
Maybe I’m trying to talk myself into the need to make time to read again. I have bought or been given so many books over the last few years that I haven’t gotten around to reading – and unless I do something about it, I’m never going to get around to reading them. I’ll never find out why “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin was banned, just how naughty Henry Miller’s “Tropic of Cancer” is, or how insanely difficult Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” is.