Labours of Love

Why Reading Is My Happy Place

TWO YEARS AGO I QUIT MY 20-YEAR CAREER IN INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT AS I WASN’T LOVING WHAT I WAS DOING ANYMORE. AFTER A PRETTY ROUGH 2017, I SET UP A PAGE ON INSTAGRAM WHERE I WROTE REVIEWS OF THE BOOKS I WAS READING.

Well HELLO there Happy Place Familia! 

I am BEYOND EXCITED to be joining the @happyplaceoffcial Fam Bam. 

I’m Sarah. Sarah.G to mates. @whatsarahreadnext to my Tribe who follow me on on book page on Instagram. 

So who am I some of you are probably asking and what’s my story? 

Two years ago, I quit my 20-year career in International Development as I wasn’t loving what I was doing anymore. After a pretty rough 2017, I set up a page on Instagram where I wrote reviews of the books I was reading. It was a safe space to go to for me, as my outside world was bleak. My passion of books and reading soon became the really popular space – @whatsarahreadnext – where not only do I review the books I’m reading but I also interview the authors too. I’ve had the likes of Annie McManus, Musa Okwonga and 2021 Booker Prize Winner Douglas Stuart – pretty cool non?

I absolutely LOVE bringing books to life and authors out of their shells.

I’m a Book Lover. Books bring me SO MUCH JOY. Books are LIFE. Books ARE MY LIFE. Books have always played a key and necessary role in my life. Nothing brings me more than joy (other than my 8 year old Son) than losing myself inside a book. For me, this is  my equivalent of the ultimate luxe. 

My Mum talks about how she used to leave me as a baby with neighbours, to go and collect fish by the road side in the little town we lived in, in Jinja, Uganda. She’d be gone for hours and in that time I’d be chilled as, totally oblivious to the fact that she wasn’t there. Happy to sit and be sung to or have a story told to me. I was happy among others but also in my own company she says.

Fast forward to this baby living in the heart of South London. All tall and goofy. A complete nerd when it came to all things books. Legend has it, that I fell out of my top bunk bed once, while trying to turn off my night light, having stayed up way past my bedtime, engrossed in Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox. That’s how dedicated I was to reading. 

And books are where I went to when the world went dark 4 years ago. They offered me an alternative universe to the one I was living in.

Then my @whatsarahreadnext space was birthed. And the rest is, well, an exhilarating history.

I’ve been a long-time massive fan of @fearnecotton for ages. I love her work and everything she does. At a time when the world is imploding and everything feels fragile, it’s to her page and @happyplaceofficial that I find resources to help muddle through a whole host of feelings that arise when life feels scary. From podcasts, books, to art and more, @happyplaceofficial truly is that place you go to.

I’m currently reading ‘Book 3’ of Hanya Yanagihara ‘To Paradise’ which while offering very little hope for humanity, as the dystopian landscape thrashes mankind with pandemics not that dissimilar  to world’s current status quo, but what it does offer, is a reminder that even in grim times, things we do that make us human – storytelling and love, still exist.

So that’s me in a rather long nutshell.

I cannot WAIT to share BOOK JOY here at Happy Place with you all.

All Love xxx

@whatsarahreadnext

@whatsarahreadnext BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS.

  1. “Bigger Than Us”  – Fearne Cotton
  2. “What Happened To You” – Oprah Winfrey and Bruce Perry
  3. “Clarity and Connection” – Yung Pueblo

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