After my family, the great love of my life is undoubtedly reading. Ever since I can remember it has been absolutely fundamental to me. Discovering that English Literature was an academic subject, and I could effectively make it my job to read, felt like winning the jackpot. Some of my happiest moments ever have been immersed in a book, accessing worlds I could never have known any other way.
I get nervous going out without a book in my handbag, even if I’m only doing the school run. After all, you never know what might happen. And much as I love real books, and could never dream of giving them up, the invention of the Kindle has significantly improved the quality of my life. Going on holiday, especially backpacking round Europe was tricky, because I could never fit the volume of books necessary for a two week holiday into my bag. The only solution was to try and persuade my husband to take books I wanted to read as part of his allowance, and that was difficult as he normally favours political biographies or academic history books, which aren’t really my favourites. Almost inevitably we would end up in Lisbon or Budapest or Istanbul searching for an English Language bookshop so I could get my fix. Now I can just load up as many books as I want (Amazon one-click is a bit dangerous for my finances) onto my Kindle.
My Kindle was also fantastic during my pregnancy. I spent a lot of time waiting around in hospitals to see midwives or obstetricians, or have a scan or blood test. Later in my pregnancy I had a couple of scares and needed to spend a few hours being monitored to check that the baby was doing ok. As long as I had my charged Kindle in my bag, I was completely relaxed about the waits, even welcomed them.
Now Anna is reading ‘chapter books’ as well, finding space for books in our house has become an ever more pressing issue. I recently had what I felt to be quite a brutal cull, asking myself in all honesty if each book was something either I would read again, or would want to lend to someone else. I amassed an enormous pile, in fact filled one of those huge blue Ikea bags, and staggered off to Oxfam with it.Unfortunately, that only made space for the books which had been piled up in the corner of the room, there wasn’t actually any more space for new ones. The solution was obvious. A local dad I know from the school-run is a carpenter and cabinet-maker, so I texted him and asked him to pop round to give us a quote for building more bookcases. Simple as.
When I set my website and blog up, one of the first things I wanted to do was put together some lists of my favourite books. Lists and books, it doesn’t get much better than that. One day when I have a bit of spare time I want to add lists of my favourite children’s books and my favourite cookery books as well.
It’s a brief blog this morning, as I am in sole charge of three children. My husband is working, and Anna had her best friend to sleep over last night. They were very good, and we all got much more sleep than I’d anticipated, but my concentration is limited as I am writing this while participating in a game which is a cross between princes and princesses and cops and robbers. I, needless to say, am playing the role of the servant. They are currently sitting, Anna wearing a green embroidered cloak which belonged to my mother-in-law in her hippy youth and her friend with an old purple silk scarf draped around his shoulders, compiling notes of all the heinous crimes which are being committed in their kingdom. These range from murder to failing to say thank you for a gift. But if you have a little bit more time on your hands than I do at the moment, and fancy a Christmassy read, then *shameless advertising plug coming up* do consider downloading my novella On the Third Day of Christmas...