Books have comforted, entertained and educated me. The first book I remember being given was Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Child’s Garden of Verses.” I read it often and loved the poems and illustrations. From there I went on to Noddy and Enid Blyton became my literary idol. I read her books throughout my childhood and relished the adventures of the Famous Five and the Secret Seven. Sadly though, the recent film of her life called “Enid” has diminished her status in my eyes, when I discovered how flawed her character actually was.
I went on to read the children’s classics like ‘Little Women” (I liked Jo best), “Heidi” (who made little girls fall in love with Peter and the Swiss Alps), “Pollyanna” (who taught us the “glad” game). I found so many heroines. It was because of “Rebecca” by Daphne du Maurier that I eventually visited Cornwall.
When my English teacher said that “Great Expectations” would be our set work book, I was not impressed never thinking that Charles Dickens would become one of my favourite authors and that his name would be the one I looked for when I scoured secondhand book stores.
I started studying for my degree and books became a means to an end. After I graduated I was able to go back to reading for pleasure. However, the years of study forged my relationship with my law textbook so now they’ve also become an integral part of my reading life.
I started reading the fabulous Jane Austen about 15 years ago and love the way she embedded her social commentary into the stories. When I visited her burial place in Winchester Cathedral some years ago, it felt like being at the grave of an old friend.
A relative newcomer to my lifetime love affair with books, is Alexander McCall Smith. I was introduced to him through his much publicised No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series which are are set in our neighbouring county, Botswana. Mr McCall Smith has done a mountain of good for tourism in Botswana as his sensitive portrayal of the people of Gaborone has encouraged numerous people to make it their holiday destination. His stories are simply told and have wonderful characters. Most of his books have developed into a series – his readers don’t want to let go of the people he has created, like Isabel Dalhousie in the “The Sunday Philosophy Club” series and William in the “Corduroy Mansions” series.
There are numerous books which have added substance to my life – no blog post is big enough to hold them all.
Life would be a much poorer place without being able to escape into the beautiful world of books.