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Archive for January 7th, 2012

I love words. Before I got myself into Photography, I loved stringing words together and making something from them. When Photography came along, I didn’t stop, instead choosing to write for my images – or indeed find an image for my writing.  Above all that though, I really enjoy reading them. A good book is something I can lose myself in for hours at a time which can often get me into trouble when I favour the lonesome activity of reading compared to socialising out with friends. I was recently given a Kindle – and whilst I think it’s a fantastic accessory on long trips and holidays, I was struggling to get over the loss of holding a real life book in my hands and burying myself in the words. Pages that turn at the click of a button really aren’t the same as ones that gently glide over with an almost inaudible swish. And come on, really, you can’t sniff a Kindle and get that new book smell every time you buy a new one. Books have taught me so much over the years. I remember being handed J R Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ at the age of around seven or eight and being told by my Dad that I would enjoy it. And I did. Books to me, were always magical. At the age of six I was read a book by Enid Blyton that mentioned Mr Stampabout and his house being damaged.

The next morning on the drive to school my Father and I saw a lorry clip a thatched cottage roof and the angry man from inside came out shouting. Books really did come to life, in those days.As I got older I read Stig of the Dump and during Summer months I always kept an eye out for a Stig at our local chalk pit. Children these days would associate Stig with Top Gear – not even remotely alike aside from their mysterious identities!

I read Goodnight Mr Tom, and I cried. I remember when I got the film, and I cried even harder because they skipped bits out from the book! Kiss The Dust by Elizabeth Laird taught me the battles between the Kurds and the Iraqis who were then led by Saddham Hussein. I understood bits of ‘The War on Terror’ because I’d started out with that book many years before. When I was eight I followed it up with ‘Behind the Bedroom Wall’ a book which reminded me strongly of Anne Franks Diary.  I learnt the plight of the Jewish people during the wars, and the compassion of those who put their lives on the edge to help.

‘Skin and Bone’ taught me that there are other worlds out there. That my life wasn’t confined to an existence in Europe. I learnt about drought, and although I don’t recall the book ever being linked explicitly to Africa, I believe I learnt about famine and death because of it. These books are ones which I am loathe to part with. I don’t read them anymore, mostly because as you can see, they are well thumbed and each word is carefully ingrained someplace inside my head. But they are books that taught me things that a classroom teacher couldn’t, and they made news headlines more realistic and understandable. My bookshelves are the one aspect of my life that can give an insight into my reading tastes over the years…the easily accessible shelf is now full of facts and figures…!

My childhood books, however, are all books that if I had children in the future, I would leave casually lying around in the hopes that they would pick one up and become engrossed within minutes. I wouldn’t be offended if it didn’t happen, but perhaps I’d have to slip them into a Harry Potter jacket in order to garner the first bit of interest…Suffice to say they will not have a Kindle! ;)

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