Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lent 14: Reading

Did you like to read as a child? Do you read more or less now? What were your favourite books?

I loved reading as a child. Loved it. I'd read under the covers with a torch. I trained myself to read in the car so I wouldn't feel sick. I'd read in the bath and get in trouble for dropping library books in the water - I don't remember much washing in the bath once I was old enough to be left alone!

Richard Scarry's Tinker and Tanker was a favourite as a tiny, making my dad do the voices. If we have kids, it's one I want to hear him read to them. The hippo has to have the squeaky voice, and the rabbit the deep one. I loved Mr. Magnolia Has Only One Boot and Spot the Dog too.

I loved curling up in bed to be read to. Before breakfast we'd sneak into Mum and Dad's bed. Dad would be snoring, and Mum would read to us girls. Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians springs to mind.

I remember the thrill of going to the library and rummaging through shelves and boxes of books for good ones. Being moved off the reading scheme at the infants school, and reading Stig of the Dump from the library shelves. It was a paperback without pictures, and it had an earthy smell to the pages - musty I suppose now, but exotic then.

At Junior school I read the Scarlet Pimpernel, and books about historical fashion, and discovered if you liked one book by an author you might like another.

As a precocious year 8 I picked Pride and Prejudice for a book project. Reading it back as an adult, I understand far more of the humour. I read lots of James Heriot, and classic scifi like Ray Bradbury. Trashy chick-lit and anything. Anything I could get my hands on. I love falling into a story. Caring about the characters. Learning about people's ways of living.

As an adult, the history put paid to reading for pleasure for a while. Hard to stop reading and taking notes once you're in the habit. I do read less now. More online, less books. I have some old favourites I'll read every year, Chocolat, Captain Corelli's Mandolin, The Floating Book, The Red Tent. Tom always buys me some excellent peice of non-fiction for birthdays or Christmas.

But I feel I should read more again - and I feel like novels at the moment. What would you recommend?

Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul. -Pope John XXIII


Anonymous said...

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.
A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth.
The Mortdecai Trilogy by Kyril Bonfiglioli.
Go, buy, enjoy.

Alex Tarling said...

I've read the first two - I think you gave me the second! I shall see if I can find the third.