Why I don’t read NZ fiction, even when I think I should

Shannon is the Children’s and Teens’ Librarian at Thames Library.

The reason I started Book Bingo was because I was ready for two things: being challenged into a reading adventure and reading more books aimed at adults. To be fair, as a Children’s and Teens’ Librarian reading kids books is a real asset in my work, but to be honest I continued reading and collecting children and teen books well into my adult life long before I had this job and I don’t see it as a bad thing.

But between my partner signing up for Netflix and spending a large part of my day surrounded by books aimed at a younger audience, the inevitable was occurring; I was reading well below my reading abilities and certainly wasn’t stepping out of my comfort zone.

So here I am, my Book Bingo challenge for myself is to read one book from every square in no particular order and to try to challenge myself with every book I pick, which to me means picking out books I wouldn’t normally give a go.

First up I found an interesting sounding New Zealand fiction. Now, I’ll be honest, I normally run from NZ fiction, or at least awkwardly ignore it exists. I’m not supposed to tell you that, as a New Zealand librarian supporting our writing culture, but it’s true. More than half the time that’s due to bad cover design, but I’m really not supposed to admit that I judge a book by its cover either (I do). For the rest it’s actually as simple as not enjoying books set in New Zealand. I read to escape, and who wants to escape to just down the road? However unlike my pride in being an adult that reads kids books, I have no pride in being a New Zealand librarian who doesn’t read New Zealand fiction. Will my first Book Bingo challenge change that?

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