Shauna Bickley

Happy Reading

Posted on Friday 31st December 2021 by Shauna Bickley

It’s almost an embarrassment to add a last-day-of-the-year post when my previous post was in January.

2021 has been a weird year. I’m sure many of you are nodding in agreement whether it is Covid related or for other reasons. Around this time last year, I started having periods of dizziness and nausea which soon turned into a constant feeling of unsteadiness whatever I did, and more than two or three minutes of looking at my laptop or phone made me feel nauseous. After four months of this and several visits to doctors, I finally had a diagnosis of PPPD — Persistent Postural- Perceptual Dizziness — from a vestibular physio. I had never heard of it before either!

There is no fast solution and the treatment consists of vestibular rehabilitation exercises to retrain the brain to take notice of the signals coming from the inner ear, neck, ankles and legs, as well as vision, rather than mostly relying on visual signals which results in the constant feeling of unsteadiness.

I’m thrilled to say that the exercises have finally brought the unsteadiness under control, and I’m now able to spend longer on my laptop. As you can imagine, I’ve accomplished zero writing this year, along with almost zero blog posts and everything else.

The one bright spot amongst this was that while I wasn’t able to spend time on electronic devices, I was able to read books for twenty to thirty minutes at a time — no scrolling or moving screens to send my brain haywire!

A couple of years ago, I read a thread of tweets from people who keep a reading journal and I was inspired to start my own. I’m not really a journaling person and so my reading journal is a spreadsheet. I’ve found it wonderful for keeping track of ‘new-to-me’ writers so I can buy and read more of their books. My spreadsheet is simple: book title and author, dates read, some brief comments of the storyline and/or my thoughts on the book, and then a rating column that I can use to sort the books easily. I love spreadsheets for this.

Despite the PPPD, I’ve managed to read 144 books this year and to satisfy my enjoyment of simple statistics I discovered the following from my reading habits:

78% / 22% female vs male authors. This hasn’t been intentional. I buy books based on the blurb, or whether I’ve read and enjoyed other books by the author, or from friends’ recommendations, and not based on the gender of the author.

94% / 6% fiction vs non-fiction

85% / 15% crime vs other fiction. As you can see from this crime fiction is my go-to genre, and my favourite sub-genres are police procedurals, amateur sleuth, and psychological thrillers.

In 2020 the split was:

81% / 19% female vs male authors (again, not done intentionally).

93% / 7% fiction vs non-fiction

51% / 49% crime vs other fiction. During 2020, I read far more widely than I often do, and discovered some good authors that I have and will read further. I think due to the fact that everything this year was more difficult I retreated to my favourite genre far more.

At present, I am partway through a box-set of seven crime novels and will continue with these in January, but I’m sure 2022 will bring many more great books and authors.

Happy reading and welcome 2022.

2 comments so far

Leave a Reply