I have had a blessed life in many respects. Not because my parents were infallible or I, Pollyanna, rather because I benefitted from the value my parents placed on ‘a good education’. My single biggest gratitude is the education I received. Of course a good education starts and ends with books.
My love of reading is shared by my brother who was nurtured in bookish ways alongside myself. He was into Zane Grey and Andy Capp while I was engrossed in girly equivalents which included the St Trinian’s Girls’ School capers which were later made into black and white films that were screened on Saturday nights at boarding school. We both loved Enid Blyton and the colourful characters that filled the pages of her books. Imagine allowing a child to read a book with characters such as golliwogs who were innocent characters in an innocent series of books of that time.
Working my way through the April A-Z Challenge I am writing posts about the values that are the framework on which I hang much of my life. In writing these posts I realise how many values instilled in childhood still frame my decisions. My parents taught me the value of of so many things and reading remains one of my favourite pastimes.
I was an awkward child, socially inept and preferred to watch rather than participate, still do. There was never a time I wasn’t tumbling into books to escape the confusion of how I experienced the world. A good book was preferable to the company of other children. I have grown into my introversion and can hold my own in public. However, I still find the escape into a good book the best way to recharge as I immerse myself into the stories of others.
Reading introduced me to new words so the link between building vocabulary and pleasure were instilled at an early age, naturally spelling became a favourite part of English studies. Each year a classic work was selected as part of the English curriculum but by the time the first term started I had read the work and was fully versed in its contents. It made understanding the details and bits the teachers wanted us to focus on so much easier to grasp. I think reading from an early age also contributed to greater linguistic abilities as I grew up and now I enjoy being a competent oral communicator as well as having reasonable writing skills (I think).
As we read we recognise ourselves in the lives of others, making us feel part of the shared story of humanity. I can time-travel, into the past and be jettisoned into the next century. The people living between the covers of a book, the good, bad, ugly, charming, wealthy, criminal, beautiful, compassionate, and difficult are exciting and exhilarating and frightening and inspiring. When I read, I rub shoulders with people I don’t and wouldn’t encounter in real life. Their page-presence intrigues me. Reading quenches my need for answers and ignites my curiosity about things I never knew existed.
Like movies, I prefer to have the opinions and recommendations of others before I commit my precious time to a film or book. So, read anything worth recommending lately?