Friday, 14 March 2014

My Reading Journey #1 Hobbits, Fantastic Foxes and Jolly Good Picnics

I was thinking the other day about the difference between my generation (I'm 40) and the younger generation
in regards to reading. When I was a kid you read books, played with Barbie and Sindy and went outside in all weathers to make up your own games. My friends and I were Charlie's Angels, Cagney and Lacey, the Kids from Fame and the owners of Lassie, Champion the Wonder Horse or Black Beauty! As kids we all had great imaginations and after school, we'd be out playing until dark then in to have a bedtime story. I loved those days! The sun seemed to shine more than it does today and we were never bored. Yet when I'm sitting reading now, I can hear the kid next door(who is 10) playing with her friends. For the last six years the only game I've heard them play is throwing water balloons at each other. This lasts tens minutes and she gets bored and they go inside. There is no imagination in a fair percentage of these kids and I wonder if it is down to a lack of reading.

In primary school we were read Roald Dahl by the teacher and I just LOVED Fantastic Mr Fox! I really wanted those farmers to get what was coming to them! For fun I read almost everything that Enid Blyton wrote. My grampa's old chair was The Wishing Chair (to be climbed on whenever possible despite my mum yelling about it) and I couldn't get enough of The Famous Five, Secret Seven, Malory Towers and The Five Find-Outers! (Fatty was one of my childhood heroes coz he was just so clever!) Five get into Trouble was probably one of my favourites at that time. I devoured books in the 80's! In the summer holidays, I was at the local library every few days to restock on books which I always read quickly. My dad was a huge reader at that time and he used to read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings to me when I was about 7, doing all the voices and explaining what I didn't understand. I even had this wonderful map book to help me follow the journeys of the characters, which I still have.

By secondary school, most girls were obsessed with Sweet Valley High, and I was no exception. Friends would take sides over which twin was the best and I was always Team Jessica. It seems ironic to me now that I read teen romances, mysteries and epic fantasy then but these are genres that I never read now! At the same time though, I was working my way through Stephen King, my first entry into the world of horror and monsters. This was when I discovered my all time favourite book, 'IT'. Maybe it's because clowns always made me feel uneasy but I loved Pennywise the Clown as the bad guy. Something about that book just ticked all the boxes for me-scary ass clown, werewolves, lepers, child murders, killer bullies...I just love the book and it would be my desert island read. Once I got into the horror books, I pretty much stuck with that and all the other stuff fell away and Richard Layman became one of my favourites. 

By the time school and college were behind me, I no longer had the time or motivation to read much. I would come home tired, stressed, grumpy and just wanting to flop down in front of the TV and rest for a few hours before going to bed. Books I'd bought sat unread and gathering dust on bookshelves and that early love of reading seemed to be gone. What I didn't know was that a work colleague in 2002 was going to change all that with a surprise book recommendation!

Coming soon: My Reading Journey #2 How JK Rowling saved my reading life!

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