Since it’s my day off today I thought I’d take a break from library posts and write instead about books and reading. I mentioned in my first post that being a librarian has been my dream job since I was a tiny tot but I haven’t yet spoken about my love of reading.
My Mum was the traditional stay-at-home-Mum and I know everyone says this, but she’s the best Mum ever. She was literally put on this earth to be a mother and I owe so much to her. My brother and I are both graduates (the first on both sides of the family) and my Mum frequently says “I don’t know how I had such clever kids when I left school at 14 and worked in a shop.” Well I know how. The fact that my brother and I have degrees is due to my Mum reading to us from the earliest age; I vividly remember sitting on her lap with a hardback Ladybird book and watching as she ran her finger under the words. I can’t remember when those words magically made sense, but I could read before I went to nursery school and so could my brother.
That is where the similarity ends with my brother and I; whereas we could both read, he read solely to find out information at school and I read anything (and everything!) Before I could read by myself my Mum admits to ‘losing’ our library books accidentally on purpose because I would not stop asking to be read to! She must have heaved a huge sigh of relief when I became an independent reader!
My favourite book as a child was The Tale of Georgie Grub about a boy who refuses to get in the bath and becomes so dirty that he has to live in a rubbish bin. It’s told in rhyme and I could recite it from beginning to end. Sadly, my copy was misplaced and the book went out of print. My brother managed to find me a second hand copy for my 30th birthday and it was the best gift ever! Now we read it to my six year old nephew and he loves it too.
I continued to read anything I could get my hands on throughout primary school and would be frustrated by the reading scheme books we were given. Can anyone remember Peter and Jane and their bloody dog? ‘Peter likes the dog. Jane likes the dog. Peter and Jane like the dog.’ I was reading Enid Blyton books with actual chapters at home and being forced to read guff like that at school. I retain a hatred of reading scheme books to this day.
In my teenage years I became much less adventurous as I found the choice very limited. In the 90s it seemed as though there were animal stories, horsey stories or Sweet Valley High in my bookshop; so I read Sweet Valley High. I envy today’s young adult readers because they have so much choice it’s unbelievable. Yet there is still “nothing to read Miss!” according to a lot of my pupils!
As an adult I have become much more adventurous, thanks mainly to the good folks at The Book People where I can get ten books for ten pounds! Thanks to their book bundles I was introduced to Terry Pratchett when I had previously shied away from sci-fi; since then I have read all but the last two Discworld novels. I’ll read chick-lit (although some of the really bad stuff annoys me) crime, horror, adventure, anything! I don’t care for non-fiction but I love Bill Bryson and, if I had to pick my favourite book of all time it would probably be Playing the Moldovans at Tennis by Tony Hawkes which is a non-fiction book.
So reading is a huge part of my life and I pretty much always have a book with me, you never know when you might get a chance to read a few pages. I like traditional books, there is something about holding a book and turning the pages that is part of the reading experience. I don’t get that with reading electronically and I spend a lot of my day with my gaze on a screen so it’s nice to read from a page.
One of the many things I love about my new job is getting to know more about Young Adult fiction and I hope I’ll be able to blog more about that in the future. I’m off now because it is a lovely day and I plan to sit in my conservatory with the book I have just started reading: The Night Guest by Fiona McFarlane. Until next time…