My name is Linda and I am a book addict, so this is my day to celebrate! You can blame my mom if you like, she used to do the traditional mom thing (back then ….. and still should be IMHO), and read to me every night before bed. Thank god there wasn’t really any television to speak of back then. Programs considered suitable for kids finished at 6 o’clock (think it was 6), and then there was nothing – IMAGINE IT! – a blank screen until those mysterious adult programs began an hour or so later. Truth to tell, I wasn’t really interested in what went on then because my mom took me to the wonderful worlds inhabited by “Little Women”, “What Katy Did”, “Anne of Green Gables” and “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” as well, of course, as Enid Blyton’s idyllic worlds. Back then one graduated from Noddy and Friends to “The Secret Seven” or “The Famous Five.”
Once I was old enough to do the reading myself I travelled to the England of yore with Jane Austen, Charlotte and Emily Bronte or Charles Dickens, and once I went to senior school, well, it was quite overwhelming. I just wished that English had been the only subject (well, maybe some French and Geography and History thrown in), and the school library also opened up new worlds with non-fiction books. Er….um…..confession time – I used to cop out of sports lessons so I could spend the time in the library, granted we weren’t always reading, but a lot of the time we were! I’d been forbidden to join a library before going to high school (books carry germs apparently), so just wandering around those shelves was like being in church for me. It was, actually, exciting!
I always owned books. I still have my copy of “The Wind in the Willows” and the “Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Anderson”. Oddly, although I read the former to my own kids I never read the fairy tales, and I’m not sure why, but we weren’t short of books anyway. Every trip to England meant lugging back heavy cases, books layered with clothes mainly. In those days it was easy to get away with excess luggage, and I rarely paid anything, luckily.
I also still have the paperbacks which fired my imagination in my teens, Hemingway, Steinbeck and Scott Fitzgerald mainly, and, of course, “The Catcher in the Rye”, that was obligatory for my generation, James Baldwin, WH Auden, Wordsworth, Whitman and Tennyson for poetry, Christopher Isherwood, Somerset Maugham and Leo Tolstoy………and, well, you don’t want a list of authors, do you? You get the picture.
My little apartment would be a whole lot tidier without them.
There was a period when books took a back seat, but it passed and nowadays there is a lot of non-fiction, mostly travel and biographies, photography and stories of development and international problems, but recent years introduced Barbara Kingsolver, William Boyd, Isabel Allende, and some marvellous African authors like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie just to name a few (as they say). Someone is going to say to me, “Ah, but you didn’t mention *********”, but there isn’t time or space. Convinced now that I am an addict? Books spill out all over the place, they aren’t only restricted to the shelves pictured above! These are squidged in between my bed and a chair,
and these are on the stairs, awaiting sorting,
and these have to live in a drawer because there is nowhere else to put them –
I do try to get rid of them. I am very enthusiastic about www.bookcrossing.com which is a wonderful concept in theory – that we should pass on books, once read, either to other members (think of it as an international book club) or by wild releasing, which is fun, leaving your book in an appropriate place for someone else to find. They then, in theory, register with Bookcrossing.com that they have found it and do the same. Sometimes books can be tracked through several owners, and internationally and that’s fun. Trouble is with the books I’ve enjoyed I always think I will read them again, often do, so the ones I release are the ones I haven’t enjoyed that much, or ones that are part of an ongoing exchange through Bookcrossing. On the odd occasions I’ve released books I liked I’ve regretted it! Why oh why oh why, didn’t someone journal “The Prodigal Summer” when I left it in the internet shop in the Outer Banks? Seemed like a good place to me :=(
Living in Spain does nothing whatsoever to curb my passion because books are really celebrated and appreciated here. In Barcelona, for example, today is a BIG deal. There are book fairs and stalls (I don’t ever remember being in any other city with so many book stores anyway), and the tv cameras are there to report on St George’s Day. This day ladies, you should be giving your man a book, and he should be responding with a rose. You see, books are even romantic here!
I do see a Kindle in my future, and whether that will tame my collecting I have yet to find out. It will certainly make the travelling easier, which will be the idea – lighter than most books and up to 3,000 of them on just one of those tablets. Win/win, no? What I have to figure out is if my home, wherever it is, will feel less homely without books. I simply can’t imagine it. It’s my books as much as anything which make a place my home. On the other hand, the travelling and moving around would be a lot easier without the volume. Other than very personal stuff and a handful of cds it’s books which make up the bulk of my possessions these days. I’ve sold and given away just about as many as I can to date, so until it’s time to move on again, I’m just going to enjoy them, oh, and excuse me, I’m off to start a new one now!
April 24, 2011 at 3:30 am
I still read to my daughter every night. She’s now 14.
And there are books everywhere at home, including piles on the floor. As I write this my feet are resting on a stack of 20 hardcover books next to my desk.
April 24, 2011 at 10:00 am
…..and I wouldn’t expect anything less :=)) I continued the tradition when it was my turn. I love the idea of adults reading aloud to each other too, especially poetry, but sadly I married someone who wasn’t interested in reading.
April 24, 2011 at 8:26 am
as an early sharer of your reading passion I too am at the moment Kindle free. Things you can’t do – pass on a book you enjoyed to a friend, flick back pages easily, enjoy the smell of a new book. o.k. I hate the fusty smell of an old one. My only survivor from childhood is Heidi. I was thrilled to visit Austira a couple of years back and FEEL like Heidi in the mountains.
latest read which I very much enjoyed was Secret Scriptures by Sebastian Barry. It came from a friend in Bristol and has gone to a friend in St Anne’s, who is also resisting Kindle.
Keep the faith – keep reading.
April 24, 2011 at 10:05 am
You can pass on books with Kindle! I have a friend who acquired one recently, and has yet to buy a book, and, actually, flicking back the pages is probably easier. I’m not sure about bookmarking passages, but I’m betting you can. My favorite books have notes scrawled in the margins, highlighted paragraphs and post-its marking the best bits.
Do you remember that teacher we had who was ex-military (well, I guess every guy in the country was ex-military at that time, but this guy had very military bearing and attitude)? I can remember like it was yesterday the first time I was utterly lost in a book. Can’t remember the book, but it was about Robin Hood, and I figure we were in year 5 or 6, towards the end. I was totally absorbed and unaware of anything at all around me ……. until his ruler came crashing down on my desk – suppose I was lucky it wasn’t on my hand, remembering him!
April 28, 2011 at 10:17 pm
Pop Green – horrid man, used to laugh in a sadistic way. Been away, only just read this.
April 29, 2011 at 12:01 am
That was he! I thought it was Green, but it didn’t sound right, but if you remember the same then it must have been. Didn’t we have the misfortune to have him twice as a form master? He was straight out of a 1950s kitchen sink drama, a character from Kes or Billy Liar! I was so scared of him I once peed in my pants I remember! Thank god most of my childhood memories were happy or he could have really spoiled it!
April 24, 2011 at 11:10 am
“I also still have the paperbacks which fired my imagination in my teens, Hemingway, Steinbeck and Scott Fitzgerald mainly …”
When I did my English lit. O level one of the novels we studied was Hemingway’s “The Old Man and the Sea”. I still remember (even though it was some 42 years ago 🙂 the buzz I got from reading that book.
We should do a book swop … my current favourites are two totally contrasting authors: Paul Auster (deep, complex, and strange) and Ben Elton (by far the best ‘page turner’ modern thrillers / novels imho). We have pretty much everything by these two on our (somewhat more limited) shelves.
When we moved to The Rock we sold almost all our books, just allowing each other to choose half a dozen real treasures to keep. Now of course we’re always thinking ‘where the hell is xxx – why didn’t we bring that with us ?’
April 24, 2011 at 8:05 pm
Hi Richard! Ah, but now is the time to get a Kindle, before the clutter begins! I very much doubt I could have limited myself to a half dozen though!
I tried Ben Elton once, but didn’t like it very much. I know I could have chosen the wrong one, but truth is it’s not really my genre either. Paul Auster I don’t know. Must look him up. You are always welcome to borrow anything.
How lucky were you to get that for O level?????? Much as I love books I can’t even remember what I did, although I remember the Shakespeare and the poetry. And it was about then I discovered Christopher Isherwood, and I thought everything else was totally boring – the way you do when you’re 16!!
April 28, 2011 at 10:19 pm
speaking of Christopher Isherwood – just back from Berlin. avoided the Sally Bowles look and went for more traditional tourist looks of trainer and jeans LOL.
April 29, 2011 at 12:03 am
Hope you soaked up the atmosphere though!