It goes without saying that I love books. I can’t remember the first book that I ever read but I can’t remember not reading. The best present that you could have given me as a child was a book. I loved reading the ladybird books and being fascinated by the story of ‘The Magic Porridge Pot’, I loved ‘The Hungry Caterpillar’ and ‘Mr Topsy-Turvy’. I remember the first time that I read ‘Little Women’ and thinking that if I was a character then obviously I would be Jo. Thanks to my Dad, I was quoting Julius Caesar, before I really knew who Shakespeare was and I’ve still got a book that my auntie bought for me in WHSmith when I was about seven or eight years old. The Children of Cherry Tree Farm by Enid Blyton. I loved it. I read that book over and over again.
How could you not love books? I’m always reading. On a Saturday, I would be dragged to Deptford Market with my mum but I knew that meant that I would be able to visit the local bookshop (I think that it was just called the Deptford Bookshop). My local library was the Old Town Library in Deptford. It was a beautiful building which they knocked down (idiots). I remember that I would have six library cards and then I would take my mum and dad’s library cards so that I could take out extra books. I would never forget the moment that I thought that I was ready to leave the children’s section and walk through the archway and make my way to the adults section. My favourite part-time job as a uni student was working in Books Etc in Canary Wharf. There was nothing better than opening a box full of books and placing them on the shelves or getting the opportunity to take home proof copies of books from my favourite authors and you couldn’t beat the 25% staff discount. I discovered James Ellroy when I was restocking the crime section. I picked up American Tabloid and that was it. I was hooked and bought everything that he had written. I also discovered Marian Keyes after I took home a proof copy of Last Chance Saloon. No matter how much I love my kindle, there is nothing like the feel of a book in your hands, the smell of a paperback or wandering around a book shop.
The point of all of this reminiscing is simply to say that books are important. They enrich your life.