Stop Press: Journalist Reads Book! A holiday treat for The Islander's Sue Rawkins

This Christmas break, I did something I haven’t done for ages.

It’s something I used to do on a daily basis, morning and evening, on my commutes to work from Brighton to London in the UK many years ago.

It’s something I haven’t done for about a year now.

I read a book.

“No big deal”, I hear you say, but it actually is for me.

Yes, I read all the time – every day, almost non-stop – it’s part of my job as a journalist. 

Thousands of words are consumed by me every week, so for me to actually want to sit down and read something – a magazine, another newspaper or a book for pleasure is quite a rare occurrence.

Having time to kill at Adelaide airport last month, I was browsing through a bookstore and one particular book caught my eye.

Not a particularly new publication, but one by an author I have enjoyed reading in the past, and also a well-known comedian – Ben Elton.

It’s called Time and Time Again and poses the question: If you had one chance to change history… Where would you go? What would you do? Who would you kill?

Intrigued, I picked it up and read the back cover to discover the outline of the story and it sounded fascinating, so I bought it and found a seat in the eerie Rex waiting zone at the furthest end of the airport and began to read.

I couldn’t put it down, but because I read so quickly I would have finished it within an hour or two and I wanted to enjoy the writing and the whole idea of the book, so I rationed myself to a few chapters at a time.

What a treat it became.

I would shut myself away in peace and quiet – not bothered by what was going on around me, and immerse myself in the characters and the plot twists and the visual images thrown up by Mr Elton’s colourful writing style.

I hated stopping reading and would reluctantly fold over the page corner (sacrilege, I know) until the next day when I could do it all again. It was a guilty pleasure that I didn’t want to end.

End it did, of course, with the most amazing plot twist you could never imagine.

Thank you Santa for the gift of a holiday, and thank you Mr Elton for one of the best Christmas presents a person could have – the gift of words.

Sue Rawkins, Senior Journalist.

*Quote from Carl Sagan.