Whilst making a cup of tea this morning and talking with J we were running through the various things that B could stand for in my life…it’s the first letter of our surname but as that’s my married name and I’ve only had it for 6 of my 38 years I don’t really think of it as “mine” yet….J threw out some rather silly suggestions “bananas!”….I pondered Bristol for a while (it’s where I went to University) before realising the obvious….Books!
Books have always been a huge part of my life..I learnt to read very early in my life probably because my parents both read and I grew up in a house full of books. Even now if I enter a house that doesn’t have any books on show it doesn’t feel like a home. When I was very small I was constantly asking my parents “what does that say” going shopping with me must have been very hard work with me demanding to read every sign and label!
As I got older books were an absolute neccessity – in the house I grew up in, the bedroom doors had little “windows” above them – I guess to let light into the landing and stairs – and my brothers and I would sneak out of bed to turn on the light on the landing so that we could read in bed from the light coming through. This way we figured our parents wouldn’t know who was to blame and so couldn’t punish any one of us, whereas if we turned on our bedroom light they would know!
My bedroom in the house we grew up in was tiny – just room for a bed and a wardrobe and that was it – literally. It must have been about 7′ x 5′ as there was about a foot at the end of the bed and just room to open the door next to the bed! However I had a book shelf squeezed in at the end of the bed and my dad built me some wall-fixed shelves. I still have all my childhood books- this is one of my problems with books, I can’t get rid of them.
When I first met J I was really pleased to find that he had 3 floor standing huge bookshelves full of books. This became a problem when we got married and bought our house – we had so many books we had no where to put them. A trip to Ikea resulted in this –
we also still have 2 of J’s original huge bookcases, one in the spare room and one in the play-room. Another one of these Ikea bookcases in the study and a bookcase which my grandfather made which is also in the spare room. And we are still buying books so they are stacked up beside the bed, on top of bookcases….everywhere.
My favourite books are –
The Secret Garden – this was my favourite book as a child and I still re-read it at least once a year. I don’t know what it is about this book, the descriptions of the moors and the garden, the relationship between Mary & Colin, the wonderful moment when Colin’s father finds them in the garden….I just love it. As a child I was diagnosed with a scoliosis curve, luckily a very minor one which responded to physiotherapy but as a young teenage girl with all the hang-ups they have about their bodies anyway I used to get very depressed thinking about it so I probably empathised with Colin and his father…the hunchback was probably a scoliosis curve.
The Lord of the Rings – as a child my grandfather gave me a copy of The Hobbit which introduced me to Tolkein. He was a Tolkein fan but my dad was not so I think he saw me as a fresh mind to indoctrinate…whatever it worked and I was hooked. The Lord of the Rings is another book which I’ve read again and again and it always makes me think of my grandfather and the wonderful conversations we used to have.
The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo – this book was given to me at a time in my life when I needed to regain a sense of self and some purpose in my life. It gave me the final push I needed to go out and do things for myself, I went to Egypt on my own and had my own voyage of discovery and came back a stronger person. Everybody should read this book – I passed it on to another friend who needed some guidance. I think it’s one of those books , a “pay it forward” book.
There are loads more but they are the three that mean most to me.
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