Thursday, March 25, 2010

The written word

I read a lot, always have. As well as my enjoyment of the content of a book, I like books themselves, and I am always a tad suspicious when I go into a house and there's not a book in sight.

I read a great deal from an early age. We didn't have a television, not because my parents couldn't afford it, they simply believed that there were better ways to occupy your time. I think we first got a small portable when I was seventeen, and that was only because it was won in a raffle.

I've always thought that so much more can be gained from a book than any other form of stimulation. Sometimes, if I subsequently see a television adaptation or a film of something I have previously read I find myself disappointed with the representation of character, as it inevitably differs from the picture that I have drawn for myself from the book.

I don't have any one particular genre that I'm drawn to, my taste is much like my taste in music, very eclectic.

My boys struggle to understand how 'simple' my childhood was without hundreds of television channels, the internet and the Wii, but fortunately, they both have my passion for books. C is like me, he reads a huge range of subjects, and reads very quickly. Although they both read to themselves, I still read to them most evenings before bedtime. C is ten, and our reading over the past couple of years has changed. Rather than individual stories, we have chosen together various books which take us weeks to complete together. Or months, in the case of The Chronicles of Narnia. Tom Sawyer provoked the most discussion, simply because of the language, and because he picked up on the differences between being white and black during the period it depicts. I doubt we would have had that discussion had we not been reading that particular book together. We're reading The Hobbit at the moment, and I'd forgotten how much I'd enjoyed it.

Reading with J is still very much short booked based as he's seven. His current favorites are Greek myths, although I fear we will soon have exhausted the library's supply.

We go to our local library most weeks. Although we've got one wall which is entirely bookshelves, and I occasionally dip into an old favorite, most of my new reads come from the library, although I do have the odd foray into second hand shops. J loves the library. Because he goes through phases of what he wants to read, he sees it as a challenge to search out something the same that he hasn't already had. I think he's resigned himself to the fact that he'll never stumble across an unread Dr.Seuss, he still looks for their distinctive spines.

Our local library in a small town is very quiet. We went to the large library in Worcester a few weeks ago and it was fucking bedlam. They'd introduced these new scanning devices in place of actual librarians, and the poor librarians left were constantly helping at the scanners as the damn things didn't actually do what they were designed for, and that was to scan books.

I don't think I would be so deep as to say that there are books that have changed my life, but all books have hugely enriched it.


nuttycow said...

I am also a bookworm and can't be without a book on the go. I remember with fondness my father reading to me - I remember Asterix (which I'm sure was for him!) and the evil Lorna Doone (which seemed to take forever and I'm sure, although I hate it now, that I probably enjoyed it at the time).

My only problem is that I can't bear to throw books away and therefore have stacks and stacks of the things. All of which have been read a thousand times!

Vi said...

That's so good you still read to your children each night, I gave up on that years ago, and thats my fault, being lazy. but they both read everynight themselves, but really should start going to the library with them again.

Gumpher said...

Nutters, I'm with you on the book hoarding. I did a clear out last year, my wife had to stand over me with a large stick.

Vi, I don't find it a drag, as I enjoy it. With my youngest it's also very much snuggle time before bed.

Brennig said...

I hear that people in Worcestershire are flocking to Detroitwich which is the only library in the county which doesn't yet have those self-service machines.


I grew up on Tom Sawyer/Huck Finn. Excellent 'boy's adventure' books.