Have been enjoying a bit of a readathon these last few days. The book review comes shortly, but today I just wanted to revel in the sheer pleasure of reading. My memories of reading go back a very long way. In fact, I could read a fair bit before I started at primary school. And once school started it was a tremendous incentive to good behaviour to be amongst the few who finished their work in time to give them some space in the book corner.
I was fortunate growing up in a home where both my parents were readers. They belonged to the local libraries, both Local Authority and private. If I remember rightly it was Boots the Chemist who had a small library of books that were more modern than the public one. The fee was each time you changed a book so that produced its own limiting factor. Looking back, I remember my mother as liking slightly old fashioned novels, whilst my father had to read books on economics and commerce as part of his external degree. That was a time when returning soldiers were being encouraged to better themselves by gaining all sorts of qualifications. Dad was part of the occupying forces in Germany and became interested in transport infrastructure there. Mum kept me going by suggesting writers like Rider Haggard and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Tales in the style of Indiana Jones, what fun.
Throughout my life reading has been a constant and abiding solace. It is a tragedy when people leave school without the ability to enter into a marvellous world of education and entertainment. A recent study suggested that online communication and the internet is reducing the attention span of students. There is a tendency to fact-hop and scan chunks of information and surf from site to site. There is even a trend of thought that advises how to discuss famous books that you’ve never read. What a waste.