I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book! When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.
Pride and Prejudice, 1811
English novelist (1775 - 1817)
There has been much talk at our book group tonight of reading and of children’s literature in particular. I just want to pen a few words on the subject.
Reading? Words? Books? Stories?
The love affair started when I was still very young.
Around the nineteen- fifties classroom we all sat while letters and their sounds became ingrained within us. Was it a kind of foreplay, this everyday recitation, a for apple, b for bat, c for cat, d for dog?
Moving on apace I soon realised the repetitious time had been well spent. Soon, with Janet and John’s help, I won the class prize for reading and was presented with a little book called Little Kanga’s Pocket about a mother kangaroo and her baby. I still have it.
Arithmetic never moved me in quite the same way, for it was a case of trying hard but getting nothing from it, though I did enjoy learning the times tables by rote, it was almost musical, all this recitation lark and I could let my mind wander as we all spoke the numbers together, into the air. Over and over. Every day.
Why don’t the children do this nowadays?
I was hopeless at handwork (what a quaint expression that was, ‘handwork‘). I have always been cackhanded in the extreme, all fingers and thumbs that’s me.
So to get a prize for reading was very nice. But there were more than literary prizes to be achieved; I also gained the thrill of adventure and a secret way to escape from my own sad circumstance. And I found the path that led to a space within my head which led to my heart or was it my spirit? Where do these things lie? It set something free in me anyway and my love just grew and grew.
And now, many years have passed and we are still together and still in love…… reading and me. We have never ever been apart and yet still my passion is unspent. I even work in a library, the place I call a keeper of dreams, not just for me of course. I share my lover with everyone.
Generous aren’t I?
Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,