Welcome to the first post in my new feature So I say Thank You For The Books… where I invite bloggers and authors to share the person or event that inspired their love of reading. I’m starting with my very own post, which I hope you enjoy!
The fact I love reading is no secret. I’m here shouting about it to anyone who cares to read and I’ve grown up with the title of the ‘family bookworm’. I give full credit for this love of books to my Grandmother, or Nana as I call her. I’ve always been very close to my Nana. When I think back to childhood memories, the vast majority of them are with her. I spent every weekend at her house and almost all of the school holidays, for no other reason than I loved to be there. My Nana is a huge reader herself and books became our ‘thing’.
(The Library and museum…what an entrance!)
Each Saturday we would go to the library together, a magical event in itself. Housed in a huge old building with the most fantastically grand entrance, I would be filled with excitement and clinging to her hand. She’d take me to the large children’s area and help me choose my books, and then I’d go to her section and start reading as she chose her own. I vividly remember it being warm and peaceful. The library building was also home to a large museum, which we never tired of wandering around, my Nana’s vast knowledge making it all the more interesting. If the weather was good we’d go and feed the duck’s in the park backing onto the museum and library (where interestingly there’s a bronze statue of a walrus in recognition of Lewis Carroll, who is said to have been inspired to write The Walrus and The Carpenter after seeing a stuffed walrus in the Sunderland museum)
(The very cover I was given by my gran)
Back at her home we would read, either together or in companionable silence. Like many Grandmothers, there were always lots of treats to eat I wouldn’t normally have been allowed. She had a soft stool that I would sit on right next to her and can remember looking up at her, engrossed in her book, and feeling very content. Over the years my nana introduced me to some of my best-loved books, and I still own many of them today. But it’s my Nana who introduced me to Enid Blyton, and thus cemented my love of reading forever. And I’ll always treasure my beautiful editions of The Secret Garden, Alice In Wonderland and What Katy Did she gave me one Christmas.
(Treasured books, sadly my favourite and most read got a little damaged)
My Nana wasn’t just a big reader though; she was a fantastic storyteller. No one could read to me the way she did, she put her heart and soul into each story and was never too tired or busy snuggle up and read to me. She also told the most amazing and magical stories of her own or from history. Robert the Bruce and the spider was one I never tired of listening to, along with made up stories of knights, princesses and fairies. But one, which both my brother and I adored, was about a blue hedgehog that lived in the garden, many years before Sonic was ever heard of. She really should have a copy write on that one! Now it’s my five year old daughter who sits on her knee, enraptured by her tales.
(My gran’s favourite author)
Sadly my Nana is quite elderly now and in the early stages of dementia. She still carries on reading though, making a weekly trip to the library whatever the weather and scouring charity shops for bargain books. Our taste in reading has grown apart in recent years; despite her gentle old lady appearance she is a huge horror fan, James Herbert being her favourite. She recently gave me a couple of his books with the order ‘try them!’ and I think I finally need to heed her advice. Just last week she was raving about a new author she’d discovered, it turned out to be Jodi Picoult and I was thrilled to be able to discuss her books with her. I still love spending the night with my gran even now, being able to sit and read in such great company is wonderful and not something you can do with many (who always want to talk or have the TV blaring!) So thank you Nana, for being such a wonderful inspiration and giving me a love of books to last a lifetime.
Would you like to be featured in So I Say Thank You For The Books…? I’m looking for bloggers and authors who would like to write a guest post for this (hopefully) regular feature.
There are more details here. You can be as creative as you like and don’t have to follow the same format as I have. Feel free to email me with any questions!