Happy World Book Day! Personally, I think today should be a public holiday so that we can snuggle up at home and read all day, but that’s wishful thinking I guess. It really does feel like a cause for celebration though. I’ve seen so many wonderful costumes donned today by school children, my heart swells with a strange pride for all these people I don’t even know, and I wish I was a youngster again and could get all dressed up for school (I made a mean Hermione, I tell you!). Unfortunately, my office didn’t feel entirely inclined to participate in this. Spoil sports.
Being World Book Day, I’ve found myself looking at the wonderfully bookish life I’m currently living, and how far I’ve come in the last year, and feel a surge of love and gratitude for all you beautiful, bookish folk I’ve come to know and love. So I thought I’d tell you a bit about my bookish lfe.
For me, books have been a life-long love and passion. My memory isn’t great, and even at just 24, I don’t particularly have that many memories of my childhood, but I do know I’ve loved books for as long as I can remember.
I couldn’t say if they were the first, but the earliest books I remember truly loving are Enid Blyton’s. I remember I had whole shelves lined with them, in their perfectly lovely matching hardback covers. I’d easily read at least one everyday.
I am notoriously awful at directions, as soon as I stray from the well known paths of the town I live and work in, I am lost. My older brother is the exact opposite, and I’ve long been teased about this by friends and family, sometimes feeling a little stupid and dispirited for it. When this got brought up the other day, my mum finally explained it to me: when we were growing up, as soon as we got in the car to go anyway, my brother would have his nose pressed against the window, taking note of everywhere we went; whereas the second my seatbelt clipped in, I re-opened the book I was reading, and was lost to the world again until my parents had to tell me to get out of the car, entirely oblivious to the world around me. Some things never change, for as I’ve never learnt to drive, travel time has always meant reading time to me, and sure enough the second I settle into my seat in a car, taxi or bus, I’m reading.
As soon as I started school, I took to reading like a duck to water. I remember at primary school, we had set books for each year, which were on bookcases outside that years classrooms, and we also had a wonderful library. I quickly sped through all the books for my year group and advanced to the next, and by the time I was in Year 2 (about 6 years old), I was reading the books set for Year 6, and I remember feeling so special that I was allowed to read such grown-up things. Whenever I felt I’d exhausted the yearly reading material, I could always find comfort in the library. It was a huge, light room with lots of giant, colourful animal-shaped cushions to relax and read on, and rows upon rows of bookcases. It always felt magical. When I was five or six, I was made librarian for the year, so when we all went there to take out new books, I used to check peoples books in and out for them, and help them find the ones they were looking for. When I was 14, I went back to that same school as a teaching assistant for my work experience, and I still found it just as mesmerising (even if everything felt a little smaller than it had done!).
In my early teens, I discovered my love of chick lit and romance. I’m pretty sure this was largely influenced from my now-Stepmum. I was about 11 or 12 when she and my Dad first started dating, and soon she introduced me to the likes of Sophie Kinsella and Cecelia Ahern; I don’t think I’ve ever looked back since. Books are one of the many things we’ve always bonded over, and we’ve always swapped books and recommended them to each other.
It was probably through my teens when I started having thoughts of wanting to write my own books. I’d always loved creative writing, but I think mid-teens was roughly when I started to realise it’s actually something people could do for a living, and that maybe I would love to do that. Unfortunately, I’ve never had the confidence to put my stories out there, so I’d always really found it a dead end. Even at school, whilst I loved doing creative writing assignments, I dreaded handing them over for someone to actually read. No matter how many good grades I got, that never really changed. So, I’ve stuck with reading books and letting others write them, and pushed those thoughts to the back of my head.
Until last year. So this confidence thing has caused major issues over the last few years in particular, and last year I finally decided it was time to buck up and stop holding myself back. I knew I wanted to start writing, and decided a blog was a great way to get me motivated and in contact with like-minded people. What I couldn’t possibly have foreseen, was just how much good it would do me. It quickly developed into a fully-fledged book blog, and helped me become part of the most AMAZING community I could possibly dream of. The authors, bloggers and readers I have ‘met’ feel just as much a part of my life as my friends I see day-to-day, even though I’ve never really met any of them (yet).
My love for books and reading has grown ten-fold. I’m reading more than ever and not only reading books I never would have considered before, but loving them too. Not to mention my first book is near completion. Sure, I’m still not quite ready to let anyone read it yet, but I will be, I don’t doubt that. Nothing compares to the magic of a book for me, and I want to provide people with the same wonder that other authors have given me.
Because books are magical. They provide escape in your deepest and darkest times, they offer comfort, guidance and solace, they help you to relax, to laugh or smile or cry – and all that from different patterns of 26 tiny little letters. It’s pretty amazing, huh?
So, book lovers, I’m wishing you a very happy World Book Day, and hope you’re spending it cosily snuggled up with a good book, wherever it may take you.