The Joy Of Reading
In my last post, A Room of My Own, I talked about my writing space. In this post, I’d like to talk about the places I like to read, and my love of reading.
It’s a miraculous when you think about the whole process of reading. I remember in kindergarten when the teacher kept showing us those funny shapes she called letters and how each letter had its own distinctive sound. And how combinations of letter make words, and words strung words together can create sentences, and sentences, stories. Once I discovered the magic of stories, I was hooked.
Growing up I read fairy tales, my favourite being Cinderella because in the end she got her prince charming despite her ugly stepsisters. In my young mind it was affirming to know that good overcomes evil. I’m sure it was the story of Cinderella that impacted on my decision to begin my writing career with romances as I read them prodigiously. It wasn’t until I got a job at the Chatham Public Library that I became exposed to a wider variety of books. I particularly recall falling in love with the books of Jean Auel who wrote the Clan of the Cave Bear series. Looking back, I can see that I was drawn to the character of Ayla because she was not only different from her people, she was strong as well. Since then I have been drawn to strong female characters and today I fashion my heroines in that mode.
When my children came along, I decided to take a leave from the library to raise them. I don’t regret this decision because it was the impetus to start a journey that has been going on for over twenty years. I wanted to do something meaningful while I was at home so I started to write that romance novel that I mentioned. I honed my craft with the help of Writer’s Digest Magazine where I learned about a correspondence course in writing which I spent two years working on. Once again I was exposed to books I had never heard of and so my reading repertoire grew to include the works of Virginia Woolf, Jane Austen, Michael Ondaatje and the like. During this time I was also reading books on writing and spirituality, as well as biographies.
I few years later I began taking university courses in literature where my reading material became more focused. I started out with short stories and poetry. Then I began to study English literature, then American, and finally, Canadian works as well as some children’s literature.
Two years ago my husband bought me a kindle which I love. There’s nothing like having an entire library at your fingertips. I still love hard cover and paperbacks, but the kindle has definitely found its place in my life. It’s great when I travel, or when I can’t find a book in the library or book store. It’s also cheaper to buy books for my kindle, though that isn’t a deciding factor for me. There are still books that I like to have in hard cover. I love to have classic books sitting on my book shelf. And I prefer books that I use for research because they can be marked up and it’s easier to find that quote that you vaguely remember, but know sort of where you saw it in the book.
I am never far from a book. I love reading them, talking about them, and seeing movies based on them. I also enjoy writing about them on my blog. Wherever I go I take a book with me as I hate wasting time sitting around doing nothing: At the doctor’s, on the train, plane, and in the car. I read at picnics. I read in bed before I go to sleep. I read while eating breakfast. I read to my children when they were little. I’ve even read to an adult when they were unable to read themselves. I simply love to read. And I love to share my love of reading.
There’s nothing like sitting in front of the fire on a miserable afternoon and getting lost in a good book. Especially this past winter when we had record snow falls. But my favourite place to read by far, is on our front porch on cool summer evenings (or even hot ones). I love the neighbourhood sounds in the background that take me back to my own childhood, and I love the peace that being out in nature brings. The world is alive all around me, and the world of stories is alive within me as I read the pages of a good book.