As a child, my favourite subjects in school were reading, spelling and dictation. I couldn’t seem to get enough of anything to do with words. Most of the other subjects were just a chore but I came alive when I had a chance to learn words.
Many children become attached to a particular toy or comfort blanket, a ‘blankie’. Books were my ‘blankie’. I was never more comfortable than when I had a book to read. I would devour as many as I could lay my hands on in the shortest time possible so I could start on the next one. I seized every opportunity I could to read; travelling in the car, waiting for a doctor’s appointment, in between meals and sometimes even during meals if my mother let me get away with it. I would rather read than sleep or eat.
I read nursery rhymes, bedtime stories, Greek mythology and legends, Enid Blyton’s adventure stories, comic books and annuals. As I got into my teenage years, and being lucky enough to have an equally, if not more, voracious reader for an older sister, I graduated to the sterner stuff of Mills and Boon, Harlequin, James Hadley Chase, Denise Robbins, Sidney Sheldon, Jackie Collins, biographies to mention just a few. My view of the world has been shaped by my reading. I’ve travelled to exotic locations, sampled gourmet cuisine, visited famous landmarks and experienced other cultures through the pages of the books I’ve read.
Over the years I have become even more fascinated by words, both the written and spoken. I am intrigued by how words paint pictures. I am totally enchanted by them. I’m older now and still love to read however the responsibilities of adulthood do not permit the luxury of the countless hours of reading I enjoyed when I was younger. It is no longer simply a case of having a book to read and getting on with reading it. It has become a tug-of-war with chores and reading. Life goes on and one must get on with it too.
I have learned to take whatever reading time I get whenever and wherever I can. It heightens the expectation when I have to juggle my schedule just to fit in some time to read. This, however, sometimes means forgoing precious sleep to do it. Sleep is no longer the luxury it was in my youth. It has become a vital necessity to my survival.
Reading is fast becoming a lost art amongst children particularly with the prevailing epidemic of computer games. The reading culture today is on a downward slope to extinction. Children would rather wield a game console than open the pages of a book. Despite the controversy that J.K Rowling has provoked in the last few years with the Harry Potter books, credit must be given her for the wonderful job she has done of getting children interested in reading again.
It’s funny how someone once said “if you want to hide something from a black man, hide it in a book”. That certainly does not apply to me. I guess to every rule there is an exception.
Tara for now,