Can you remember learning to read? I guess most of us were so young when we started that we don’t recall the process. I can’t. I have absolutely no memory of learning—it feels to me as though I’ve been reading all of my life. I know I started early. Apparently I used to steal my older brother’s readers and read them before he could. Yet another cause of sibling arguments in our home, no doubt!
Mum and Dad really encouraged my reading. I remember Mum was always bringing books home for me and allowing me to browse shelves at second hand shops. I read books over and over again and kept some favourites for many years. I went through phases of likes: The Famous Five, The Secret Seven, Kit Hunter, any book on witches I could find, and classics like Black Beauty and National Velvet. There was one time I would only borrow the thickest books I could find in the library, and as I went through the teenage years I read every doctor/nurse romance and the like the town library could supply. Then my parents introduced me to Georgette Heyer. Dad gave me ‘The Conqueror’ to read when we studied William the Conqueror in Year 7, and I proceeded to annoy my history teacher by knowing everything there was to know on the subject. I have read all of Heyer’s historical books, and own the complete collection—including the rare ones. Dad also gave me my first Horatio Hornblower book (historical British navy- read them all), and the Richard Bolitho books of the same genre. These days I absorb thrillers, and romance, at a steady rate, which explains the genre I write! I could go on and on and on, but I’ll leave it there.
I consider myself lucky to be a bookworm, and I can thank my parents for fostering my love of reading. In the end we shared reading. They would recommend books to me, and I would recommend books to them. Both of my parents have now passed away, but I have friends and work colleagues who are only too happy to pass on books and recommendations, so the supply is still coming.
Writers are told that to write, you must read, and read a lot. This has to be one of the few pieces of writing advice I not only agree with, but follow. I don't always read 'new' books, in fact I spend a lot of time re-reading books. These days I am trying to branch out a little and read things I wouldn't normally consider (Except erotica. Nope. Just no!). I've finished reading a thriller and my next book is about a trek on the Kokoda Trail.
I’d be happy to hear your recommendations! Any genre, fiction or nonfiction—whatever you’ve read and enjoyed. Just leave a comment!
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