As long as I can remember, I’ve been a lover of books. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t read.
I can remember discovering Enid Blyton books on the shelf of the small school library when I was about 7. I read The Folk of the Faraway Tree. We had teachers at school that read to us.
I remember the power of stories.
Mr Twomey was our teacher for 3rd and 4th class (roughly ages 8 and 9.). He read us The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. He then read us The Magician’s Nephew. I can still remember the current of elation and excitement that ran around the classroom when the Lion appeared, singing the world into existence.
I learned to identify myself as a reader in those few early years. Mr Twomey had everyone check a book out of the library. When you returned it, you had to check another one out. I remember being one of the few students who had to write a short description of each book because I’d read it quickly.
I am doing some voluntary work just now as a tutor, coaching adults who have difficulties in reading and writing. There has never been a time in my life that I wasn’t in the middle of a book. Sometimes I would read nothing but fantasy and science fiction for years on end. Sometimes philosophy or history or personal development or spirituality. I cannot imagine my life without it. I find it difficult to imagine life for the people I work with.
When I was young, my father used to tell me how when he was younger he would continue reading, with a torch, under the covers, after lights out. Around the same time I was reading so much at school, my dad took me to the join the library in the nearby town. I remember the silence of it and the intensity of the presence of books. My dad is still a reader of books although now they’re usually on Kindle. My niece is a reader and that gives me great pleasure. I look at her and think ‘you’re like me’.
I was lucky. My love of reading was supported by my family who value it highly as an activity. There were always books to read. Christmas presents were usually books. Others are not always so lucky.
Have you always been a reader of books?
I sent this picture to my niece on Sunday with the caption ‘my little piece of heaven’.