My reading habits have certainly changed since becoming a mum! Personally, I yearn for those days of sitting out in the sun in peace with a book. I studied literature through to PhD level and was tutoring literature full-time when my daughter was born, so reading novels has been a way of life for a very long time now! Nowadays, though, serious book-reading is really tricky when Isabelle's awake as she either wants to join in or distract me. However, I've rediscovered audiobooks, and got through some wonderful books listening to them unabridged in the small hours of the morning while somebody was keeping me awake... I've also found myself pondering the literary theory behind classics like the Gruffalo and Spot Goes to the Farm!
I set up the Culture Tots Book Club to help mums connect around a shared love of reading - whilst acknowledging the realities of life with a small child! Each month, we choose three books to look at - a fiction book, a 'parenting' book (I use the word very loosely) and a children's book.
This month we've picked Pride and Prejudice for our fiction book, which is great because it's freely available on ebook, so you can read it on your phone if you end up stuck under a sleeping baby, and there are a few ways to get the audiobook very cheap or free. (See below!)
Our 'Parenting' book is the wonderful book of poems and diary entries by Hollie McNish about pregnancy and new parenthood, called Nobody Told Me. Hollie McNish is a bit of an icon for breastfeeding mums because of her poem Embarrassed, which passionately defends the rights of mums to nurse in public, rather than hiding away in the toilets. The whole book is a really real and raw look at the journey of becoming a mum, and I'm looking forward to reading it - I'm sure there will be lots to discuss!
The jury's still out on our children's picture book for this month's discussion - it shouldn't take too long to read, at least! Join our Facebook Group if you have any suggestions!
If you fancy reading along with us, do join the Facebook group. Any mum is welcome - there's no need to live locally, as I'm hoping the group will be a great discussion space, although we'll also have monthly real-life meetups in Hull and East Riding.
I've become a bit of a geek about finding ways to get audiobooks cheaply, so if you fancy trying audiobooks as a way to fit reading into mum life, read on! (I'm trying out using affiliate links here for the first time - but you'll notice I'm still showing you the free options!)
You can find the free Kindle book of Pride and Prejudice here. Once you've downloaded the free ebook, you should get a link to add Audible Narration to your purchase, which is around £2.99 (this is a workaround to get a cheap audiobook!) The two will synchronise so you can read a bit on Kindle then switch to audio. This is brilliant for fitting reading into life - I can read for ten minutes on my Kindle when my daughter is napping, then pick up my phone to read a bit more when she wakes up and wants a feed, then put the audiobook on to continue with the story as I get her food ready. Each version syncs pretty immediately with each other, so you don't lose your place.
You can also get the audio version of Pride and Prejudice free for a month if you get a free trial to Kindle Unlimited. The Kindle unlimited version is here. With Kindle Unlimited, you get a free trial for a month, and access to lots of free ebooks and audiobooks which you 'borrow' on the Audible/Kindle apps. I say lots, but it's a bit of work to wade through them to find which are decent. There are lots of classics with free audiobook companions, and since each is about 20 hours long, you'll have a busy month! You can click straight through to your account and cancel the free trial, if you don't want to end up paying.
You can also get Pride and Prejudice audiobook for free on Borrowbox, which is a free app that Hull mums can access through the library. Only one person can 'check out' an audiobook at once, though, so if you read it, click 'return' when you're done!
You can buy Nobody Told Me here. The Kindle version is not too expensive, and you can 'add audible narration' for £3.99 if you purchase the Kindle version. I'm pleased to have a paperback version to read, though, as nothing beats a real book.