She was about 3 years old when her mother introduced her to books for the first time. She couldn’t read yet, but her mother would read to her. Story time was one of the most pleasant times of the day, something she looked forward to even more than playtime with the neighborhood kids. She couldn’t wait till mum comes home from work, because she would sometimes bring back audio tapes and when you play it someone else reads stories to you! It came with the book and if you listen to the tape it tells you when to turn the pages. There were lovely pictures in the book and if you listen closely and follow the letters, you’ll also learn to read. How wonderful that was for her! She could picture the characters, hear them speak – the many voices of the characters and before she knew it, she didn’t need to listen to all the taped voices anymore. She could read, imagine what her invisible friends looked like and soon enough she could go to the library and pick out as many books as she wanted!
I was sitting on my reading chair with a book in my hand and my feet tucked in underneath me, my mind wandered back to when I fell in love with reading and that’s the image that flashed in front of my eyes. That little girl was me and what a delightful memory that was! I was raised amongst books, I’ve known them all my life and I’ve loved reading since I can remember. Books have been a constant in my life and I have my mother to thank for that. She taught me how to read, not because it’s something she had been doing daily (she was a teacher), but because she is an avid reader herself. She and my day nanny would tell me stories, read to me and even bought me the most beautiful picture books, but that particular memory is something that got stuck in my head. Back when I was small, there weren’t many audio books for adults and if there were, it wasn’t popular. These tapes were almost like radio soaps for kids, but you’d get the book too. You can imagine what a treat that was for me, because now I had a few voices reading one story to me! I still remember being very excited in primary school when my dad had to take me to the library twice a week (only after my homework were done) to take back the books I’ve read and pick out some more. I remember walking through the rows and rows of book isles, breathing in that old dusty smell of books and sitting on the floor reading the back of book covers so I can decide which ones I want to take home. Almost every time my dad got tired of waiting and had to come and rush me…
I have a certain fascination with books – I love the smell of books, especially old books, bookstores and libraries. There are few things that get me as excited as when I step into a bookstore and whether my intention is to buy or just to browse, I WILL only surface a few hours later. I feel that if you don’t read to a child or teach them a love for reading, you are doing them a huge injustice (and maybe I am wrong). I like to talk about books, about what I’m currently reading and I want my friends to read my favourite books. I’m lucky that most of my closest friends are readers too. To me anytime is a good time to read, but one of my favourite reading times are in the winter when I can curl up in bed, burn scented candles, listen to the rain and escape into the magical world of fiction. Nothing is quite as enjoyable to me as when I’m sitting with my nose in a really good book and sipping on something that I believe isn’t good for me – coffee.
With reading, I grow. It’s a fun way to learn and broaden your knowledge. I want you to read as well and feel the emotions and think the thoughts that run through my mind when I read a really good book. I wasn’t there during World War II or the Spanish Civil War, but I have a pretty good idea what happened and how tragically people’s lives were affected by it. My history teacher didn’t teach me that or tell me that, but my books did. I am able to empathize with these people and doing so I’m travelling back into time. Reading can make you do that…bring out feelings of various emotions and even nostalgia.
George R.R Martin said “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. A man who never reads lives only one”. I have lived a thousand lives, “travelled” to countries I’ve never visited, in any time period I choose to, because when a book is good, I am there too. I’ve played naughty pranks with Matilda, rediscovered the joys of reading with Chloe in The Book of Secrets, walked and played in The Secret Garden with Mary (the spoiled brat!), planned along and actioned revenge on people in The Count of Monte Cristo, cried a few tears for the characters in Winter in Madrid and Sarah’s Key and I applied a few spritzes of Chanel N°19, so I could better imagine the character that is the beautiful and elegant Katherine Massot in Sparkles…
“Page after page I let the spell of the story and it’s world take me over, until the breath of dawn touched my window and my tired eyes slid over the last page” – Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I have done this many times! Have you?
I wrote this for Literary Love 2014, an event hosted by some of my favourite people in the world: