I can’t recall a time when books weren’t a part of my life, a part of me. Books and stories have always been vividly implanted upon my memory that I don’t think I could be able to separate myself from them anymore, they are almost like family, always been there. My Mother always tells the story that I loved my books every since I could walk, talk or even look at the pictures in the picture books she’d buy me. Apparently, although I have no memory of this, but when she was potty training me, I’d only go if I could take a stack of books as big as me so that I could ‘read’ which then was basically just look at the pictures.
In my old house, which was my 2nd house but the only house I could remember. In my old room, my Dad built this long shelves across one of my walls, mostly to put some of my toys but mainly so that we’d have somewhere to store all of my books. There was certainly a lot of them, from what I can remember even though for a lot of my early life I found it such a struggle to get the words to make sense. I think that’s when my history with books and reading truly began, the shelves I wanted to be filled with books just like in Waterstones.
When I was around 7 or 8 years old, I took some time out from school, a few weeks prior to this I remember watching the first Harry Potter for the first time. Me and my Dad were sitting on the sofa and he told me it was a book, now like most kids then we all wanted to read it and be able to get into this world more and more. Which is when I decided I was going to start saving my 50p pocket money and buy the book, I accomplished this quickly (I think Mum and Dad were sneaking in extra cause they knew how much I wanted it). I remember the night I got the book, it was just before I had the dentist, afterwards my dentist gave a bunch of Harry Potter stickers and on the ride home I tried to read. I couldn’t but my Mum soon took me to the library and we picked up the audio book which I used to help me read along. My mind imploded with my imagination meeting this new and wonderful world. I listened and read along so much that soon enough I knew the first chapter by heart. Not only that, I began to learn to read and know what words were what, which is something I couldn’t do before hand.
Soon enough, my poor poor Mother was taking me to the library nearly every other night after school. It wasn’t so bad, especially since out of the back gate of my school the library maybe a two minute walk away? I’d spend hours in there, well it felt like hours anyway, borrowing the endless books and audiobooks while waiting for the next Harry Potter to come in. Although I remember reading countless Jacqueline Wilson books, the Judy Moody Books, Magic Fairies and Beast Quest and the Roman Mysteries books, there is one particular series which still holds dear in my memory.
Stardust: Magic By the Moonlight by Linda Chapman, I must have taken it out and read it dozens upon dozens of times. The story and characters just captured my mind in a way others didn’t quite. I remember the one of the librarians telling me it was a series and ordering them in for me, so I could take them out too and read them countless times. I remember Mum would tease me that I took it out that often that no one else would get a chance to read it, so I tried to take it out less often because I wanted everyone else a chance to read it.
My first two classics were read shortly after we moved into the ‘new’ house, it’s hardly new anymore since we’ve now lived here almost 9 years? I just gone into double digits and was almost finished junior school, in my final year before i entered big school. Mum and Dad have always loved the 1995 BBC adaption of Pride and Prejudice which meant that I too fell in love with the series. Which means when I found out it was a book, I wanted to read it! I had a DS and they’d just released a ‘game’ which just had over 100 classics on it which meant that was what I used to embark on my first classic. But of course I found it a little hard to get through so would often alternate between that and Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.
Shortly after this I encounter a new type of book, I discovered Manga. Surprisingly it was in the library, I sound almost like Hermione but it wasn’t surprising how much time that I would often spend there. I had a friend who’d read Fruits Basket and told me I should pick it up which I did. Although I certain struggled getting the hang out reading right to left, I soon got the hang of it and devoured Natsuki Takaya’s series, I still love it even now. Manga is one of my favourite genres to read, it’s completely unique and I love the worlds and possibilities which are created by them and the art work is divine.
Of course, one of my favourite genre discoveries were found, YA of course. My Granddad would take me into town every single Saturday, which always meant a trip to the bookshop. I think we spend the majority of our time there, we often go straight from the cafe to the bookshop and forget the errands which he was meant to be running. Granddad would often go and look for books he was interested in while I’d wander off to find books which I liked. Often I come back with at least one, not always bought with my pocket money but Granddad but he’s get in trouble for spoiling me. Though he always respond that books weren’t spoiling but rather letting you grow. One weekend I began to look beyond the wonders of Middle Grade were often dragons, fairies and magic grew and stumbled upon a book called Before I Die By Jenny Downham. She remains my favourite YA author to date, although not the happiest books to begin with for YA but such a brilliant text which I’ve carried with me since.
Books and reading have been apart of me since as long as I can remember, there something which is still with. Books aren’t only stories and portals into other worlds but are almost like a comfort for me, a link to the past and my childhood. They’ve inspired me, taught me and will always continue to be apart of me. Afterall, they’ve inspired me to undertake a literature degree!