I read. A lot. I finish at least a book at week; very often two books. I'd choose a novel over the television in a heartbeat and I read, without fail, every single day.
I have been reading like an addict since I was a teeny tot. There were obsessions with Topsy & Tim, Enid Blyton, Little Grey Rabbit, Dodie Smith, Noel Straetfeild, Sweet Valley High and Virginia Andrews in my youth.
From a very young age, mum bought me a book per week. I'd choose one at the front of the supermarket and sit in the trolley (or later, walk around the store, bumping into random people and objects), nose buried in the pages, as Mum completed the boring task of our weekly food shop.
As a child, I enjoyed trips to the library more than any other shop, particularly as we walked through the recreation ground and stopped at the swing park on the way. We lived in an historic market town and the 16th Century market house served as our library.
|The Market House. The library was upstairs.|
photo source: wikipedia. I wish someone had thought to remove the rubbish bags, pre-snap!
I remember the building vividly. I adored it, even at the age of 7 or 8. I remember sunlight pouring through the large leaded windows, warming the room as I knelt on the polished oak floor and picked out a selection of beautiful hardback books. I liked how quiet it was and I loved the heady, slightly fusty, smell of well-handled paper and ink. I enjoyed watching the librarian hand-stamp my chosen books with the return date and would put each book carefully into my mum's cream string bag before dragging it home (I insisted on carrying it, even though it was enormous, mis-shapen and heavy). Back home, I'd sit on the kitchen counter and read to my mum as she cooked dinner. Brer Rabbit was my very favourite and I remember us laughing a lot over his antics. Those were truly happy days.
It's fiction I love best, although I relished every single one of Torey Hayden's books from her days as a child psychologist. Nigel Slater's 'Toast' is an all-time favourite, too.
I love crime stories, thrillers and horrors. I have read and re-read many of the classics. I read the occasional piece of erotic (grim word) fiction and I often pick out a regular old-fashioned, feel-good novel: the Miss Read stories of Fairacre and Thrush Green are as cosy as a book can get. The Persephone range of neglected female writers of our past is a new favourite discovery (love Dorothy Whipple) and I have devoured all of the Alexander McCall-Smith books about the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency. I'll read almost anything, if it is well-written and suits my current mood.
I haven't mentioned 'chick lit' yet for a reason. I hate the term 'chick lit'. I think it's a derogatory expression and most often used, scathingly, by individuals who have an inflated sense of self-worth. People who, actually, don't read very much at all. I adore a bit of light-hearted modern fiction every now and then. I find it easy to read, entertaining and - very often - amusing. I agree that there are some dreadful examples but isn't that the case for every genre (don't get me started on James Patterson)? As I have said already, my pre-requisite for a book is that it must be well-written and suit my current mood - Adele Parks, Jane Green, Lisa Jewell and Sophie Kinsella very often hit the spot .
And so, I am launching my first weekly feature, entitled, 'Book Loving'. I'll share my thoughts on the book/s that I've read that week and would love you to tell me about the books you've read too. I'm always happy to do a book swap, if you fancy. Don't expect great long reviews from me - it'll be a paragraph or two about what the book's about and what I liked/disliked about it.
Let the book loving begin!