A blogging bookworm who pledged to read only free books for a year has completed her austerity challenge but is continuing a blog she started to record her progress.
Annie Elliot, who has lived in Uckfield since 1998, began reviewing books in the autumn of 2013 and now has more than 60 books on her popular Left on the Shelf blog, writes Jacob White.
The blog began life in October 2013 following personal illness and financial pressures which led to a creative and unique approach to sourcing reading and review material.
Annie said: “The word austerity was on everyone’s lips. I had always been a book buyer as well as a reader but found that my purchases were outweighing my reading time.”
As a consequence, Annie set herself a year-long challenge of reading and reviewing books that were free; ones she already owned, ones borrowed from the library and free Kindle books online.
Annie who has a degree in education and history spent most of her working career in educational and medical administration before giving up work through ill health.
“I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition and had to give up work. I was determined that I would use this as an opportunity to do some of the things that I had always wanted to do”.
Annie who lives with her family and two dogs attributes her love of reading to two people in her life; her late sister who taught her to read and a secondary school librarian.
“My beloved late sister taught me to read before I started school, she enabled me to hit the ground running when I started school at five-years-old.
“I also had the most inspirational school librarian who encouraged me to read the Brontës and Dickens, starting my love of the classics.”
With more time on her hands Annie was able to blog about her reading. She said: “I have kept a reading diary for many years and it was almost a natural progression that the blog developed.”
She kept a running total of how much money she was saving and was stunned to find that she had saved £373.74 by October 2014.
Annie enjoys textile arts and gardening when she isn’t reading and blogging and is a member of the Uckfield and District Horticultural Society.
She said: “Reading is my main interest and am a frequent user of our local Uckfield library which I think is brilliant. They have a collection of good books and great staff.”
The original challenge has ended but Annie has decided to continue blogging as she has enjoyed sharing her thoughts with others. She has lifted her self-imposed book buying ban.
“I was absolutely thrilled that so many people contacted me saying how much they enjoyed reading the blog and were glad that I intended to continue with it.
“My passion for reading has never waned from when I devoured every book in the classroom to today and I look forward to discovering many more new books.”
Her top ten reads of 2014 included: Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope, The Crooked Maid by Dan Vyleta and Disobedience by Naomi Alderman. A full list can be seen on the Left on the Shelf blog.