I love reading and I love that there is a day set aside to celebrate the wonder of books.
A friend recently sent me a quote, which I hadn’t seen before, but that says it all for me:
You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.
My love of reading started when I was all of three and would impress my mum’s friends by ‘reading’ my books (which of course I had simply memorised, right down to where to turn the page…). I graduated to reading the words I recognised in the Scotsman… the, and, is, me… You get the idea – I was nothing if not a show off!
The first books that I have clear memories of reading and re-reading (and re-reading) are ‘The 101 Dalmatians’ and ‘The Starlight Barking’ by Dodie Smith and Colin Dann’s ‘The Animals of Farthing Wood’ series. I still have them all and I hope that my children enjoy them as much as I did – although they seem much shorter than I remember…! I also loved Enid Blyton’s ‘The…of Adventure’ books.
Next came Judy Blume. I read them all, over and over again. Showing my age now, but how many of us remember hiding ‘Forever’ from our mums? I loved ‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’ and ‘Deenie’. I still have all these books too, I’m not sure my boys will enjoy them (except perhaps reading about the antics of Superfudge!), but I hope that my daughter does. Although in the world we now live in, perhaps they will be too tame, too old fashioned… I hope not.
Fast forward a few years and for a long time I read, almost exclusively, fantasy and sci-fi novels. My all time favourites, and those I cannot recommend highly enough:
Katherine Kerr – in particular the Deverry series, and the books that followed it.
Raymond E Feist – Magician is a phenomenal book, and the rest of the Riftwar saga is wonderful, as are the rest of the books set in this world.
Elizabeth Haydon – Rhapsody is simply beautiful.
Maggie Furey – for a long time I fully intended, if I ever had a daughter, to call her Aurian…
Iain M Banks – his fiction is great, his sci-fi is incredible!
I’m now trying to picture my bookcases back in Edinburgh (books were a luxury that I couldn’t ship to the States!) – other favourites include David Eddings, David Gemmel and I have of course read Tolkien! I also love a bit of Stephen King and Dean Koontz!
In recent years I have read my fair share of chick lit. I particularly enjoy Jane Green, Maggie O’Farrell, Lisa Jewell and Cecilia Ahern. And I’m quite partial to a bit of crime – Karin Slaughter, Karen Rose, PJ Tracy and Tess Gerritson are among my current favourites. And if you haven’t already, you must try Christopher Brookmyre.
My biggest recommendation though is for my current, absolute favourite author, Brandon Sanderson. Back to fantasy here, but this man has the most amazing imagination, his worlds are complete and absolutely real, his magic systems are flawless (unless you’re my husband who has a huge problem with suspending disbelief…!), his characters are well developed, honest and believable. I love his books! It is also thanks to him that I discovered one of the greats of fantasy, Robert Jordan – and I wrote about that in my latest 50 Books 2013 challenge post. I also review the last few books that I have read in this post.
My boys love books, and the 6yo now reads chapter books at a rate of knots. I hope that this is a sign that he is inheriting my love of books – his dad is a non-fiction fan – I’m hoping that he will some day read the books I read so that we can share them. The boys are surrounded by books, both their own and mine – although a lot of mine are now ebooks and I imagine that with their love of technology, they will go the same way on this front! I truly believe that a love of reading and an appreciation of books is one of the most important life skills we can teach our children.
Books teach us, inspire us and can allow us to escape our own reality for a while. They make us laugh and cry. They give us insight and perspective. They encourage imagination, expand our horizons and develop understanding.
To quote another favourite author of mine:
Fairytales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.
Neil Gaiman, ‘Coraline’