The Joy of Reading

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

I cannot imagine a world without books – it’s an unbearable thought. I love reading. I’ve loved it since I first learned to decode print.

In fact I think I remember pretending to read even before I’d actually learned the skill. I would look at the pictures in the books I was given before the age of five and then made up my own narrative which I read aloud to myself and anyone else who would listen.

And then – oh the magic of going to school and being taught to read. Back in the day, in my part of the world, it was the Janet and John books that were the learn-to-read-text books. And I still remember the thrill of progressing through the various levels.

The first novels that I remember reading were Enid Blyton’s Mallory Towers stories which I began when my granny gave me the first one when I was in hospital having my tonsils out aged eight. And I quickly moved on to Blyton’s other series.

From then on reading became as vital to my wellbeing as breathing.

It was also my privilege to teach young children to read during my thirty-six year career as a primary school teacher. And, latterly I was a learning support teacher and it was a joy to help pupils who were struggling with deciphering the written word become literate – including those with dyslexia.

And nowadays as a fiction writer myself, I still continue with my first passion of reading. And while I write the sort of books that I enjoy reading, my own reading choices include more than just those from the genre I write in.

I enjoy both non-fiction and fiction. Romantic fiction and crime fiction are my favourite genres but I also enjoy the occasional thriller or historical novel.

I always have a book that I’m currently reading. I read ebooks and print books. I read on the train, on the bus, on the couch and in bed. Reading takes me to so many amazing places and I meet so many fascinating characters with great stories to share. Reading is both stimulating and soothing, challenging and relaxing. It can educate, entertain and engross.

Last year I read 56 books. So far this year I’ve read 6. My two January favourites were A Brahminy Sunrise by Maggie Christensen and Inceptio by Alison Morton and I reviewed them here and here on the blog. They were very different but equally wonderful reads.

And, as for the books I write, I want to leave my readers feeling they’ve had a wonderful read too. I hope to deliver the sort of story they’re expecting, but also to offer some surprises along the way. I hope to transport them away from their own lives and steep them in someone else’s. And I certainly hope they’re engrossed and entertained enough to want to read more of my books.

In what come sometimes feel like a mad, uncaring world where we’re bombarded by all sorts of transient online information, books provide a solid reference point and/or a comforting source of downtime.

Yes,it’s safe to say I love the world of books – I love writing my own books and reading other people’s. Books are a wonderful invention offering revelation, escape and infinite possibilities. Long live books – in whatever form – and long live reading.

How do you feel about the world of books and reading? What do you enjoy reading? Who are your favourite authors? As always, please do leave your comments below.

8 thoughts on “The Joy of Reading

  1. Well said, Anne! I too, love the world of books, reading and writing them. When I was a young girl I had a plan should we ever have a fire in our house. I would throw my books out the window and then jump out myself! (my bedroom was on the ground floor) We learned to read with the Dick and Jane books. I was so excited when I could read. My first visit to the library was a highlight of my childhood. I recently visited a couple of schools and was so pleased to see how excited the kids were about reading!

  2. Agree with every word Anne. I’m never without a book of some sort whether it’s a physical copy or on my Kindle or even on the app on my phone if it’s an emergency situation. Yes, being without a book is an emergency situation in my opinion! I know we often have similar taste in books. Favourite authors include Patrick Gale, Miranda Dickinson, Fionnuala Kearney, Sue Moorcroft, Kirsty Ferry – I could go on!

  3. I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read – I started school at the age of 4, and could read before then. When I was in primary school, my mum used to worry I’d be knocked down, as I read while walking everywhere. My teeth suffered somewhat from my habit of reading whilst I brushed them! And I think my eyesight perhaps suffered too. But overall, reading has enhanced my life immeasurably. I still read, every single day. Even when I was recovering from major surgery in hospital 15 years ago, my dad read the book I was in the middle of out loud to me (bless him). Last year for the first time I kept a record of what I read, and it was 72 books in 2018…that’s paper text, I also read an awful lot of blogs and other stuff online.
    Sometimes when I’ve been on yoga/meditation retreats, I’ve caught myself feeling a bit smug about how easily I cope without TV and internet. Nothing to be smug about, when I’ve never owned my own TV and have been used to poor connectivity for the last 15 years in the Hebrides! In fact a bigger and much more real challenge for me would be to be on a retreat…*without a book or 6* (said in a horrified whisper). Someday I’m going to try spending a day or a weekend without reading, to see what happens :-)) Questions for you – I occasionally wonder, if I didn’t have any books to read, whether I’d write because I’d be desperate to make up stories. Do you find that you read less when you’re writing? Or at certain stages of the writing? Or do you feel reading fuels your writing? Or gives you respite from it? Or perhaps it’s a mix of all of these, and some other things I’ve not thought of! Do tell…

    • I read a lot too. I’ve always got a book on the go and I have a ridiculously large to-be-read-pile. When I first started writing I found I had to be careful what I was reading but nowadays I can keep the two activities quite separate in my head. So , no the fact I’m writing doesn’t impact on the amount or type of reading I do.

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