Sunday, 12 May 2013

Book Love

Today's next topic is Book Love.

Now I have to say that nowadays as a full time employee, mum, wife and blogger, I don't get much time for reading any more, and when I do it has to be on a Kindle because allergies have made it hard for me to keep paper books in the house any more -sob-. But as a child and in my teens and early twenties I was a total book addict. I never had a book out of my hand and if I had nothing to read I felt physically deprived. I remember once when I was a child and sitting on the loo, I couldn't even last the few minutes until I got out of the bathroom so I sat there reading the back of the toilet roll packet just for something to read!! I didn't know back then but this was actually a side effect of having Dyscalculia which I have had all my life... dyscalculics tend to compensate for having learning difficulties with numbers, by being really good with reading and words instead, and boy did I over compensate!! I especially loved fantasy books, sci fi, and also the classics which I found in a local book shop for cheap and had a whole collection of them. I had hundreds of books and loved them all. It's hard to pick out favourites from all the books I love or have loved but here are two of special significance to me: the first 'proper' book I ever read, and my favourite book as a child.
The first 'grown up' book I remember reading is Watership Down. I could read by the time I was 4 years old. Partly because of my dyscalculia, partly because I was rather precocious back then anyway, and partly because my mother disapproved of the new system of Phonics they were teaching at the time and therefore she made darn sure I could already read before I started school. At the age of 4 I was reading more fluently than most people twice my age and once I started school they just didn't know what to do with me. At 5, given the 'Roger Red Hat' book learn-to-read series everyone else in my class at school was reading, I finished them all in less than a week. After a bit of consternation and trying to make me read other books for kids my age (which all lasted me about 5 minutes before I was back asking for something else to do), the teachers just gave up and let me pick whatever I wanted from the top class' book shelf. I chose Watership Down, which everybody thought was waaaaaay too hard even for me. I finished it in three weeks flat and all the teachers pretty much fainted lol. They let me keep the book and I still have it today and love it even now.
The Swiss Family Robinson was my favourite book for years as a child. Dad picked it up in a charity shop and gave it to me as it was one he'd been fond of as a boy. I absolutely loved it and pretty much read the ink off the pages. I loved the stories of desert island life, the way they survived in the wilderness and made themselves such a lovely home from sheer resourcefulness that in the end when rescuers arrived, they decided to stay there rather than leave. When I was older I saw the movie and I HATED it. Hollywood-ised to death, it was nothing like the book... gone were the fascinating tales of survival and the intricate details of how they'd designed this that or the other gadget to make butter or string, made their own fishing nets, or how they protected their little farm area from wild animals. Instead they'd been replaced by cheesy shmaltz and stupid scenes of brothers (who in the book had been decent and sensible) suddenly turned into hormone crazed idiots, fighting over who gets to dance with the girl (why do they have to bring sex into everything??). Even now the movie gives me rage just to think about it. I consider it pretty much the worst movie I have ever seen, just because of how far removed it was from my childhood memories of this lovely story and part of the reason why I rarely watch a movie that's based on a book unless I have already read the book first and seen what it was really supposed to be like!

That's it for Book Love for me. How about you? Which books did you love as a child?

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