After I finished Narnia, I started reading The Bible. This seemed even more logical after The Last Battle, the most obviously Christian of all the stories.

I expected this reading project would take me much of this year. Now I wonder if I can finish before 2020. Tonight, after ten days, I finally finished Genesis, which is only the first chapter.

The Bible is dense, printed in two columns on tissue thin pages. My version has 1217 pages. There are literally thousands of names; thankfully, not all the characters play important roles. Despite being one chapter, Genesis covers hundreds of years and multiple storylines.

As a student of literature, I know it’s important to have these stories as reference points. Most of what I know from The Bible comes from children’s songs and pop culture interpretations. As I read the story of Joseph, I realised I’ve never even seen the whole of Technicolor Dreamcoat.

It’s not possible to read The Bible straight through like another book. I’m reading a very little at night before bed. The density makes it hard to read for long periods. The structure and language force my brain into poetry mode, not narrative.

The biggest struggle I didn’t anticipate: italics. When I see a single word italicised, I automatically emphasise it. But there are many sentences where this emphasis makes no sense. I’m trying to skim over, but a lifetime habit is hard to unlearn.

I was raised atheist, but as I’ve grown, it’s softened to agnostic, and then to a curiosity of spirituality. I’m reading The Bible simply as an unread book on my shelf, in my own personal canon. So far, though I am very early on, I don’t foresee this book changing my mind.

Not in faith or what makes a good book.