Reading Journeys

Made up of individual memories, each reading journey is unique. Some people write about their early reading experiences, others about the books they read now. For some a favourite book is the starting point, while for others it’s a family member or an incident that sets them off. Some write their own reading journey, and others give interviews from which their reading journey is compiled by the Reading Sheffield team. A reading journey is not about perfect recall – all books ever read, with dates, provenance and reviews (although some people, we have found, do keep lists). Rather it is a reflection on what is remembered and why. Everyone who has contributed to Reading Sheffield, from Ted born in 1919, to Lily, Mabel and Poppy, all born 90 years later, has found it a worthwhile experience. For many it seems to be a way to tell the stories of their life. Taken together, the 80 or so reading journeys collected here offer a social and cultural history of Sheffield from the 20th to the 21st century. (Our founder, Mary Grover, explores this in her book, Steel City Readers.)

We have two sets of reading journeys: the first set from the 65 people interviewed for our original project, all born between about 1920 and 1945; and the second set, which we have just started collecting, chronicling experiences of reading in Sheffield from 1955 onwards. Most of our reading journeys can be found in our blog but they are mixed in with research about libraries, authors etc. To make it easy for anyone who wants to browse all the reading journeys, here is a list, with links to each one. (That is to say, this is a work in progress, which will take a little time to complete, but here is the start.)

The Original Set

The Next Generation