Last week I shared the questions we had been asking students at school, to celebrate world book day. I promised you my answers so here they are:
1) What is your first memory of reading?
Honestly, reading has been part of my life since before I can remember. So much so that there isn’t a specific memory that sticks out because reading just was. I have many memories, all blurred together, of reading with my mum, my dad, and my gran, in particular. Bedtime stories were the norm. Morning stories were the norm. Mid-afternoon stories were the norm!
I remember Mum reading Tubby and Tootsie to me and my brother in the car when were parked up somewhere, early in the morning. Mumhated that book but she still read it with all the enthusiasm necessary to make telling a story an enchanting experience…which is why I asked for it again and again!
I remember sitting with all my cousins, cosied up in the duvet on the big double bed in the spare room at my gran and grandpa’s house, eating toast squares and listening intently as Granny read aloud from The Children of Cherry Tree Farm for the umpteenth time. We all used to imagine what it would be like to have a squirrel for a pet or to meet a wild-man named Tamylan living in the woods nearby.
I remember Dad reading bedtime stories as he tucked me in for the night. I couldn’t tell you what story, but I can tell you how safe and loved I felt in those moments. Strong hands tucking my duvet in. Deep soothing voice intoning whatever my chosen story was, or speaking of clouds to lull me to sleep.
I have so many precious memories around reading but it wasn’t just the books and the stories I loved, it was the experience of reading with people I loved that made it so special.
2) What is your favourite story?
I don’t think I could answer this question if I tried! I have so many. But I suppose what I love is the story where good wins; where things aren’t perfect but people are happy anyway; where truth is discovered; where corruption is challenged; where evil is overcome; where love is found; where different worlds and times and cultures come alive and dance off the page. My favourite story is the one I can get completely lost in.
3) What book(s) have you read that you think I should read?
This could be a very long list… I’ll give you a few but this is by no means an exhaustive list!!
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
His Dark Materials
Winnie the Pooh
The Night Circus
Mist Over Pendle
Bird by Bird
To Kill A Mocking Bird
I Capture The Castle
…I’m going to stop now or we’ll be here forever.
4) What book, story or character has changed your life?
(Why did we make these questions so hard?! They’re killing me!!)
Again, I could list so many and for so many different reasons. I’m going to try and restrain myself and just mention 2. Firstly, The Perks of Being a Wallflower was a really important story for me because its ideas of difference, identity, and mental health just hit home. Although my personal experiences were nothing like Charlie’s, I could still empathise so much with his character. His story spoke to me. Secondly, Mist Over Pendle as this was the first book that I remember being really enchanted with the language and the crafting of words. I think this is where my appreciation for beautiful writing, not just stories, began.
5) Is there a place you would like to visit, or a journey you would like to go on, based on a book you have read?
Lots probably, but the one that springs to mind is Prague, which I have wanted to visit since reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone. It just sounds like the most amazing place and I’m dying to see the astronomical clock!
6) How did you fall in love with reading?
I guess my answer to question 1 answers this one too! I fell in love with reading through the love of stories and books my parents and grandparents shared with me. Through the experience of togetherness I had when being read to or read with, I came to love stories for just that: an experience. Through the wide range of stories told to me, and books I was introduced to as a child, I came to love them for the words and the worlds they contained. I continue to fall in love with reading everytime I pick up a book; the look and the feel of the book itself, the smell of the pages, and the enchantment, wisdom, and illusion that unfolds from the letters printed within. (Who knew you could create such beauty from black squiggles on a page?)
How else can you travel the world and beyond, or see into the minds of great thinkers of the past without leaving the comfort of your home…or even your bed?! Books and stories are such an incredible gift and I thank all the people who have brought, are bringing, and will bring these things into the world. You are truly magicians.
I’d love to know your own responses to any or all of these questions. Please feel free to share in the comments below!
Happy reading. 😊