Books… what do they mean to you? Do you like going to the library? How many books do you own? Do you have any recommendations of books others should read? Come on, share your passion (or non-passion) for books…
One of my great loves in life is books, and my earliest memories are of me, in my own little world, with a book. As soon as I learned to read there was no stopping me; a trip to the local library with my mum and sister was my greatest treat. I devoured books at speed: desperate to get to the end, yet feeling somewhat sad when that particular journey was over – nothing has changed and I still get a hint of sadness when I finish a book.
I can still picture the hallowed hall of the children’s library; the smell of the polished parquet floor and the dusty aroma of thousands of books. But what I vividly remember above anything else is the silence. The deathly hush that hung over the rows of bookshelves. My sister and I knew that we were not to utter a sound; a glare from mum was enough to scare us into silence. The only sounds that could be heard were the hushed tones of the austere librarians, the clicking of heels on the parquet floor, the rhythmic clunk of the date stamp, and the thud of the cover as the stamped book was closed ready for the borrower to take away to read. Then, people really did respect that libraries should be silent places, unlike today.
I could never choose books quickly; I had to examine the contents of each shelf carefully and often several times. I would end up with at least half a dozen books and then spend ages trying to decide which three to take home. Nowadays, the entitlement is more generous, but, for me, a trip to a library has never been a short visit. I am fortunate now that I have a great library a short walk from my home.
At home, I have several shelves filled with books of all kinds, including modern fiction, classics, children’s books, text books, reference books of diverse kinds and a variety of cookery books. I enjoy books by a wide range of authors, but a couple of particular favourites are Peter James, a British crime writer and Alexander McCall-Smith, a Scottish writer whose books are quite magical. I always find that reading and books are topics that can be relied on to get conversations flowing in most situations and, of course, a love of reading shows intelligence. And intelligence is sexy!
My love affair with books took an unexpected twist a few years ago when I developed a serious eye condition, which required a number of operations. I was left unable to see well enough to read comfortably. But, I did the next best thing and downloaded several audio books to save my sanity during the long periods of time spent convalescing and desperately waiting for my sight to improve. One of the most captivating of these was ‘The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out Of The Window And Disappeared. What made the audio version so amusing and memorable for me is that the book is set in Sweden with Swedish characters, but the narrator is British and reads the parts of the various characters in different British regional accents.
As soon as I got some useful sight back, I borrowed some large-print books from the local library; I was so grateful to be able to actually read a proper book again. I also downloaded some books to read on my IPad; the facility to be able to increase the text size was invaluable. But, I found I didn’t get as much pleasure from reading in this way as from a normal book. It’s more for convenience; holding a normal book is definitely more enjoyable. Thankfully, I can now see well enough to read normal print books again. But, I no longer read as much as I did. I used to read a couple of books a week. Now, it’s more like one book a month. The discovery of dark Twitter has had a lot to do with that, along with discovering other new interests…
Interestingly, I sorted out a long-forgotten drawer recently, and found this book – a purchase from around nine years ago – long before I had even heard of Twitter. But I have always had an enquiring mind and obviously liked to vary my reading material, even then…
See one of my own confessions here
See the other Wicked Wednesday posts here