Tuesday, 28 October 2014

My Relationship with Books

I was born on the 7th of May 1992, my mother sang songs to me, and then at 4 months she started to read to me. It was something that she did regularly and something she enjoyed doing. I couldn't understand but she did it anyway but I think this is one of the reasons why I have such an intense relationships with books. I started talking at 9 months and i started to recite the words of the books that my mother had read to me. I would look at the the page, follow the words on the page, recite them and then flip the page to do the same. It was something I did all the time and especially when my mother had tasks to do I was right there with her. I would sit on a little chair and I would read to her. This way she got her tasks done while I was engaged as well.

As I got older my mum would take me to the shop and I would pick out my own books. I remember it was a great thrill and excitement to go to do this. I loved doing it. There would even be times when mum and I would pass by book stands and I'd see something I'd like, tell my mum, and she'd buy it. That day we would read what we had bought that day. It was a wonderful feeling. My life was surrounded by stories and reading. I always loved to listen and enter another world.

There were moments when books made me sad or scared. I remember being given a Grimm's edition for my birthday and my mum read me The Robber Bridgeroom. It was horrific and scary - I didn't want to hear it. I didn't want the story to get to the end. My mum hadn't read the story before and obviously didn't know what kind of story it was. I was a very sensitive child, this story disturbed me deeply, and I didn't want to see the book ever again. When my mum read me The Little Matchstick Girl it was a story that made me cry. It was a wonderful story but nevertheless I was deeply affected - asking why she had to die. Even from my childhood I knew that there was different sort of stories and different sort of endings.

I believe this affected me deeply and why as I grew older I didn't want to have stories that have happy endings. I wanted to read stories that were realistic, believable and also genuine. A story I really enjoyed when I was a child was The Secret Garden (Ladybird edition) and I would look at the pictures with the words. I liked the fact that the story had a female heroin, and that she was this curious girl, who is eager to find find out the truth.
There hasn't been a time in my life when I wasn't reading. That isn't to say that they were good books. Especailly around my teen years I had trouble finding books I liked to read. I wasn't really interested by romance and I attempted to read the series of unfortunate events but they weren't going anywhere really. What I was looking for wasn't there for a long time. Then I stumbled on Artemis Fowl at a friends house and I absolutely loved the book. Artemis wasn't afraid to be himself and I was. In the books I took refuge and I admired him greatly - for this wit, sharp knowledge, humor and scheming attitude. I loved being with Artemis. He was driven and passionate. I could relate to him and thats why I was so pleased I had found the series. This was the book I remember from my teen years.

I feel that with time there has been a creative explosion. There is now diversity of books, characters and writers. More and more I'm drawn to young adult fiction. What I feel is the case is that in adult books there are such limited topics relationships, separation, divorce, marriage and death. I don't want to read about those things and thats why I get drawn to Ya fiction. Ya fiction explores identity, the world and life impacting decisions. They are intense, passionate and strikingly genuine. There is uncertainly, death, loose and separation but they are dealt with every differently. I find that now there are even greater female characters and that these books even explore topics such as rape, suicide and divorce in ways that supposed adult fiction doesn't.

Its this relationship with books that lead me to a degree in English literature. I have reading for my classes but yet I always find myself books that I wanted to read. I just love to discover new texts and new authors. The one thing I love to see is novels with real characters that want to find out about themselves. I love to read about those characters because those are the characters I've always longed for. Now I keep on finding them every time I'm book shopping. I never come home empty handed. For me this is a blessing not a cruse. The only one problem I have is when my shelve space runs out....like now my books are waiting in bags until their long term shelter and home arrive.

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