Reading is one of my favourite things to do, particularly if I’ve had an especially stressful day.
For me, there is very little that can beat the feeling of climbing into bed at night with a good book and having the stresses of the day melt away with each word that’s read.
My relationship with books and stories began with my parents. They had started reading to me and telling me stories that they would make up off the tops of their heads about as soon as I was born and I began to learn to read myself from around the age of four.
My poor mum and dad. They were probably tired of reading about Ebeneezer Scrooge and his hatred for Christmas every single night. But because they knew it was my favourite, they would read Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to me over and over again. Then when I could finally read it myself (which admittedly took a while – there are a lot of big words in there), they had to put up with me reading it to them!
I have always loved reading, and when I was the awkward, overweight kid at school with no confidence (before I became the awkward, overweight adult with a bit more confidence that I am today), I would use my books as a means of escaping the bullies who hounded me mercilessly.
I would read stories such as The Twits by Roald Dahl over and over again, and it became one of my favourites.
It’s a brilliant story of two hateful, retired circus trainers who try to open the very first upside down monkey circus and try to catch birds to make pie by covering tree branches with glue. They are wicked not only to the animals but also to each other and set pranks on one another in a show of their mutual hatred.
This story not only took me out of myself and transported me to another world, but it also encouraged me to believe that people who were bad got what they deserved and this, to a bullied child or teenager, is a big thing indeed. It helps you to hang on in there and power through, in the hope that the bullies will not get away with their tormenting ways. Even if that hope is false, it’s important to feel it.
Books such as Oliver Twist (another classic novel from Dickens) helped me to realise that there is a whole world of people who are poorly treated and that there are plenty more, much worse off than me. While Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis and books like the Magic Faraway Tree series by Enid Blyton allowed my imagination to grow, letting me escape into a world in which I knew for a fact I would be safe.
My love affair with stories is a lifelong one and, as I’ve written about before in my post entitled Why I Write, I have been reading them and even rewriting them for my own enjoyment from very early on and hope to keep doing so for a long time to come!
As usual, thank you for reading all of that if you made it this far, I greatly appreciate it!