A blog to share my enthusiasm for books.
This blog is sheer indulgence on my part. I have always loved reading and cannot get through a day without reading several chapters at least once a day, preferably more than once a day. A good holiday for me is one where I read at least a book a day. I would like to share my passion with you.
What do I read? Whatever I can get my hands on. (Slight exaggeration of course. But I do read widely.)
When I was a little girl we had the luxury of a library at the end of our street and the road was safe enough for me to go on my own. Of course, in those days you couldn’t join the library until you were 7 years old, when they reckoned you could read. I learned to read at 5 years old so it was most frustrating. And you could only take out 2 books at a time, no matter how old you were…1 fiction and 1 non-fiction. Since my parents were both great readers, but with no spare cash to buy books, they both used their book allocation for their personal reading so I had to wait till I was 7 to get my hands on all the books in that wonderful little building.
If I was engrossed in a particularly good story I would lose all track of time. I could emerge from a storm at sea or a thunder storm and wonder why the sun was shining outside.
Only taking 2 books at a time was frustrating, especially as I could read very quickly and usually read both books in one day. You were not allowed to take books back on the same day as you borrowed them so it was very frustrating, especially at weekends and during holidays when I had lots of reading time. I solved the problem by trying to read a book whilst I was in the library and taking my 2 books home later. It meant I spent lots of time in the library and the librarians knew me well. It wasn’t very comfortable trying to read there because there were no chairs or cushions to sit on so I had to stand up with the book resting on the little shelf above the radiator. Silence was de rigeur. I also felt a bit guilty about reading in the library. How ironic is that?
How much better it is today. Silence is no longer imposed. There are chairs, cushions and tables to encourage readers. Children come and do their homework. There are computers and internet access, graphic novels and DVDs, CDs and old books to buy. Plus, the best thing, you can take out lots of books and no-one looks to see if they are fiction or non-fiction. Folk are encouraged to bring babies in and to choose board books for them. And aren’t the picture books beautiful now! When I was little, picture books weren’t really considered to be ‘real’ books at all.
My children used to enjoy audio books, especially when they were ill and listless. Wendy Craig recorded Beatrix Potter stories and Felicity Kendal read My Naughty Little Sister books. They loved them and so did I. We also used to get a series of story magazines which came with a cassette of the stories to encourage the listener to read- along, Storyteller I think they were called. In those days we didn’t have a TV so reading was as important to them as it was to me. I got accustomed to tripping over one or another of them laid flat out on the floor, lost in another world, as they read. When our eldest daughter was 6 years old, her primary class teacher actually complained that she kept finding her in the book corner, reading. We thought that was wonderful. What did she want? I sometimes think the reason I was a primary teacher was so I could read and tell stories every day and encourage new readers into the marvellous world of the printed word.
Another thing we did was to save a week’s Family Allowance a couple of times a year and then we spent it all on books for them in the library sales. Lincoln library held sales every few months and all sorts of stuff was there for 10p a time. It was like an Aladdin’s cave. We took a shopping trolley full of books home for them. At one point we had more books in our house than their school had in its library.
I did lots of knitting when the children were small and as long as the pattern wasn’t complicated I read a book at the same time. Of course we read bedtime stories, without fail, every night to the youngsters. Our son does the same with his children and it’s so lovely to see the youngest, she’s 8 now, discovering Roald Dahl for herself, after having heard some of the stories from her Mum and Dad.
I hope to add daily to this blog to share my books with you, the reader. Please add comments and recommend your favourites to widen my reading taste.