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Can't stop reading!
My mother introduced reading to me at the age of 3 before I started school. We had these little books on Snow White and Cinderella which she used to read out to me or ask my elder brother to do so. I enjoyed stories every much and am thankful that as part of my first memories of life reading or being read to are amongst the most prominent.
I was so excited when my first library card was issued in Class 4 at school, I couldn’t wait to research for mystery novels to take home. It was a treasured prize for getting that opportunity to choose your own book and read within the stipulated time frame.
I started early with Enid Blytons and Nancy Drews, I read my first Agatha Christie in Class 6 and Sherlock Holmes in Class 7 if I remember right. Read all the major classics from Jane & Eyre, David Copperfield, Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations etc. Digging through my father’s old wooden boxes I found a James Hardly Chase and read that too in my teens, little scandalised. Jonathan Livingston Seagull happened in Class 9th and I remember explaining my understanding of the book to my elder brother in college who said I pretty much got it right.
I read voraciously all my school years; especially from school libraries and the various Air Force libraries where my father was stationed. Old yellow books, some with funny scribblings and hardly any new ones. I read a lot on flying and war stories- Birth of an Air Force by a former Air Chief, Pastoral by Nevil Shute, Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, there were times I had to incentivise myself for studying X number of chapters of my school exam books so I could get back to thirty minutes of my fiction world. My parents never forbid me reading novels even during exams and made me responsible for prioritizing my reading and studying time.
When I joined college I was fortunate enough to have got admission to a college that had the largest library in the entire university campus. Frankly that library spooked me a bit, one of the sections had a winding staircase leading down to it and then rows and rows of dusty old books, it was an amazing collection and my interest in reading and searching for old books beat my fear of heading down there alone, honestly I was afraid somebody might lock me down there by accident.
Right after college, once I started earning, the first thing I did was enrol into a Book Club membership where we received a catalogue every month and one could order brand new books at a discounted prize which got shipped home. I can never forget the excitement when I received my first package, although the book was a slight disappointment. This continued for a good five years till I just simply started buying books every month browsing in book stores, yes affordability had increased!
My room at my parent’s house is full of books all around, neatly stacked and every book has my name, date and the place mentioned on it. In fact my first book cupboard is what my father made with his own hands, he being a fan of carpentry himself. Once I got married and moved cities, I left everything for mum to read and re read, since she admitted she forgets and loves to start again!
My husband knew about my passion for books and reading and supported my new collection building in our new home. So my books started to spill over in my new home, in the living room and the third bedroom etc. Entering a book store can be the best part of any shopping experience for me, more than clothes , shoes or cosmetics ( I love those too, but not as much as books!)
I travelled a fair amount in the last two years and made it a point to pick a book at every place I visited and stamped the date and place on it too. I was thrilled to add London, Boston, Geneva, Paris, Princeton,Singapore, Calcutta, Hyderabad & Bombay to my date and place stamps on my books.
Then came the time we were relocating abroad and were shipping some of our household goods as well . I chose some twenty favourite books of mine and shipped them off along with a brand new book shelf for our new home in the new country. Today in my new home, I have started to add to this collection, although I am taking a bit more time than usual as I am still getting used to literature available here.
The joy of holding a fresh book and reading it has no bounds. I love books not just for their content but also for the pages, the cover, the size etc. I have a special hardbound edition of The Da Vinci Code back at mum’s place and unusual editions of Jack Higgins and William Dalrymple as well.
Recently my husband was given a Kindle Touch as part of a conference he was attending and so it automatically was handed over to me. (Honestly, we never would have bought one) Even though I was never a fan of this online reading, I took it up and today I do enjoy the ease of ordering and getting the books within minutes and the comfort of taking it with me anywhere. It sure does have advantages of its own and for an avid book reader; I think it is in a way being in touch with the times! It definitely feels a lot like holding a book and turning pages, but I miss the cover and of course date and place stamping!
This will never stop me from buying books even now. I am eagerly awaiting my shipment that is due for delivery in three days time!
Some of my favourite authors are Nevil Shute, James Herriot & Jack Higgins but I read indiscriminately across topics, across genres and authors. From fiction to biographies, although not so fond of self help and ‘how to get better at xxx’ books. Firm believer that books always beat the movie adaptations.
I am so glad that I was introduced to the world of books so young, it is an addiction and now will never stop. My husband sometimes looks at me with wonder and cannot fathom how can I read so much,he mocks me saying it seems I am preparing for an exam! Once when I saw him try reading a book I thought was interesting, he read for 15 minutes and was thereafter shaking his legs trying hard to keep going!! But nevertheless I am glad he appreciates and supports my passion for reading.
I could probably go on writing about stories and writers and my experiences in the book world, but maybe for another time!
Happy Reading to my fellow book worms.