End of Week 1 – A Year of Doing Good
February 1, 2013
Happy Friday readers! I hope you’ve enjoyed your first week of Readarama and you’ve been dusting off the bookshelves ready for all your new books! Don’t worry if you haven’t completed your first book or if you’ve only just discovered Readarama – you can join in anytime and you’ll find all the information you need over here.
I started the Readarama challenge with Judith O’Reilly’s A Year of Doing Good, chosen in the spirit of Readarama – pledging to do something and sticking to it!
January is the time for New Year’s resolutions whether it be to lose weight or quit smoking or to read a book a week for a year, but that often the resolutions we promise ourselves that we’ll keep are a bit selfish. I know for a fact that the majority of resolutions I set myself have, somehow, fallen by the wayside. Don’t get me wrong, I tried – but, for example, if you’re trying to lose weight in the middle of January, it might be nice for the weather to help you out and not, y’know, cover the country in snow meaning that you can’t leave the house to go for that run you were definitely going to go on and that you have to eat fatty goods to feel warm and cosy. Rant over. Judith O’Reilly, however, goes that extra mile in A Year of Doing Good as she decides to put others first and to carry out one good deed each day for an entire year…and manages to do it.
From small acts of kindness, such as taking the time to pick up rubbish left lying on the beach and calling a sick relative, to her full-scale charity campaign ‘The Jam Jar Army’ which has raised over £20,000 to date. Judith manages to find an opportunity to fulfil her ‘good deed quota’ each day with astounding dedication and boundless enthusiasm. Although some of the deeds may seem to be a quick win (phoning relatives/popping some money into a charity box), Judith proves that even the smallest of selfless actions can make a huge difference to your day-to-day outlook on life and can be a step towards improving the lives of others.
She manages, not only to pass on that warm feeling you get from doing a good deed, but also to inspire me to think about how my actions affect others and about what acts of kindness I could perform. A Year of Doing Good is a deeply funny, deeply honest book that makes it the perfect book to dip in and out of for a quick pick-me-up in a quiet moment or on a stressful commute.
Don’t think that this title is just a record of 365 good deeds, A Year of Doing Good celebrates the bad as well as the good that can come in a year. Judith O’Reilly’s honesty is both refreshing and intensely moving as she wrestles to come to terms with several personal tragedies as, in these moments, her acts of good allow her to discuss painful experiences from her past and bereavement.
I found A Year of Doing Good and it’s day-by-day journal format extremely easy to consume in a week. Every night I kept thinking ‘Ooh, I’ll go until the end of this week’ and then I’d find myself still reading, one month down the book’s timeline. Also, it worked out as a fantastic commute read for me. Bite size chunks made it easy to find a finishing spot for getting off the bus and not losing my place (a serious pet hate of mine – I still find using a bookmark strange and prefer to memorise where I am…anyone else?).
I’d recommend A Year of Doing Good to help get rid of the January/February blues and to kick-start the year, or for anyone looking for an inspiring read. I’ll be picking up Marie Lu’s Legend today – check back on Monday where I’ll be chatting about my thoughts so far.
Is A Year of Doing Good on your reading list? Or have you been reading something else this week? Let me know in the comments!