Ahh my favourite subject. I love books l could talk about books all day.
My love of books began at a young age. My Father was one of those parents who lead by example he “always had his head in a book” as the Mother would loudly complain!
Now l look back l wonder was he using his reading to escape from us- his family? Did he read so much to clear his head after a day of hard physical labour? he was a Bricklayer, that’s hard work. But he also read to learn things like how to make mud bricks and sustainable living so that he was able to build his own mud brick home.
When l was about ten or eleven years old a library opened in our town. Dad had watched them building it and so we were in there when it first opened in line to get our library cards. I was too young for my own so Dad would borrow on his card. On that first day everything was new and fresh and shining. Dad asked the Librarian where to find the books for his “Baby Doll” she lead us to the Children’s section.
Dad went off to find his own books and returned to help me choose some books. A week later we were on a drive somewhere and l was reading my book there was a very sad part and l had tears streaming down my face, Dad happened to look over and was alarmed at my tears asking “What’s wrong?!” I told him l was reading a sad bit, he asked about it, l told him about my book about the character Poll and what was happening to her. We chatted for ages about my book and then at the end of the book he decided that he should read it too. I recently re-read that book “The Peppermint Pig” by Nina Bawden for a reading challenge with Dymock’s Book Stores. It was under the listing of “A book that makes you nostalgic” and yes! I cried again!
It began a tradition each Saturday morning we would go off to the library and spend an hour or more there borrowing books we learnt our way around all the sections and learnt to use the microfiche and Dad would encourage me to look at other sections of the library, encourage me to read from the adult section.
Once l had a school project to do on the Book “Storm Boy” l wanted to focus my project on the Pelican, so Dad was home it was a raining day no work, he says “Let’s go to the library and find some stuff” off we went we borrowed library books photo copied pages, a drawing book on birds, whatever we needed and back home we went to do “our project”
Each day we would work on this project and Dad did the final spell check and suggested some tweaks. I was so proud to bring that school project home with a giant A+ in red ink on the front cover to share with my Dad!
As l grew older my reading habits changed but the one thing that never changed was my love of books and reading. When l was a young teenager l saw Gone with the Wind on TV it was so long l missed the end of it but l was talking to Dad about it and he said again “Let’s go borrow it from the library” we both read it, and discussed it and this became a reoccurring theme, either of us would borrow a book discuss it with the other and most times swap it. Dad really opened my reading choices!
Many a time he would tell the Librarian “l need to re-borrow this please my Dolly hasn’t read it yet!”
We were never lost for gifts to buy Dad a book here, a book there, usually something he couldn’t find at the library.
I miss being able to share books with my Dad. Luckily l have a husband who is a reader and so he quite often says “I reckon you’d like this one Sheila!” And quite often l’d take him up on that challenge which has lead me to try new authors and genres.
We were trying to return some books to the library just before the pandemic struck and l started reading the first page of one of his books “The Great Zoo of China” by Matthew Reilly an Aussie author. It’s about dragons how good could it be? But let me tell you l re-borrowed that book and read it quickly! Which in turn lead me to discover Matthew Reilly writes in an easy to read way that l liked! I’m working my way through all his books!
In 2007 l did a challenge with some one on Instagram “The Year of reading Australian Authors” unfortunately l forgot to stop which means l have a bookshelf full of books which are written by Australian authors and honestly l love reading about places we might have been camping to or places l want to go to!
Last year l read 85 books because during lockdown l struggled with my emotions so l chose to escape in a book. I laughed and cried with characters, I saved the President of USA with “Scarecrow and the USM”. I travelled all over the place all from the comfort of my bedroom! This year lm aiming for 90 books and this morning l started book number 12. Turns out this author is from Melbourne like me!! This is her first novel AND the book has a red spine. I just ticked off three different reading challenges criteria- winning!
My Dad once told me “Always bring a book with you because if you have a book you have a friend” l wonder if perhaps my Dad was lonely. Maybe he didn’t have anyone to share his love of reading with except me. Mother was not a reader and would get cranky with us she always used to complain “always got your heads stuck in a book” in the end she decided if she couldn’t beat us she’d join us. She read a book slowly, not as many as us and she never really loved it or discussed it, we never shared books with her. I wonder if she felt left out.
My Children are not book lovers, not one of them, and it’s NOT from lack of a good role model they’ve watched me read and write in my journals their whole lives, they’ve watched The Bloke and l swap books, maybe l turned them off reading, but lm trying hard with the next generation. I read to my Grandchildren l talk about books, l’ve started a journal with one of them, the eldest three- are seven l’ve got time!!
Do you like reading? Do you stick to a certain genre? Do you stick to an author? Is there anything you won’t read? If someone tells you a book is bad do you believe them or read it for yourself to find out?
I love books l’m a bookaholic let’s talk about books!! Let me know your favourite author and book suggestions!!