I was wondering the other day if I was becoming a stick in the mud, behind in the times. I know a lot of people who have received a Kindle as a Christmas present this year, but to be honest, if I had been given one I don’t think that I’d have particularly wanted it. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a wonderful piece of equipment for certain people.
For example, my brother-in-law Nick is a book-worm. I’ve never met another person in my life who can read as quickly as him. He is one of the few people who I find very easy to buy gifts for, as always it’s either books or a book voucher. For transportation and for the volumes he reads, a Kindle would be a good thing for him.
However, for me not so much. I think it begins by looking at my relationship with reading. It wasn’t a great start. I really struggled to learn to read and was always miles behind my class mates. I remember taking home an old tobacco tin full of words while all the other kids were reading proper books. I was told that I needed extra help and would have to stand in the Head-mistresses office holding my book in one hand and pointing at the words with the other as I read. It singled me out and I got picked on. This was most apparent when we were asked to read out loud in class. There would be a groan and an eye roll from some of my class mates as my name was called. I would panic, my mouth would go dry and with my heart thumping I would slowly and nervously stammer the words out. One day when I was 6 years old, I was made to miss my break time and had to go to lunch last so that I could sit in the cloakroom on my own because I kept getting the b’s and d’s muddled up. Reading became a chore and I disliked it very much. No, I hated it.
But things changed. I was told that I shouldn’t do A levels because I wasn’t an academic student and university probably wouldn’t be the place for me. I think that when you’re told you can’t do something, you can do one of two things;
- sit back and do nothing; or
- prove to yourself that they are wrong.
I did the latter. In total both full/part-time, I went to university for 7 years. I got a good degree from a red brick uni and have completed a large chunk of masters credits too. Yes granted, it took me longer than the average person but I couldn’t care less. Study made me love libraries and start to enjoy books.
The one thing that I’m still learning to do is read for enjoyment. A friend of mine @tomsheppard inspired me while our families had dinner together the other day. He aims to read 100 books this year. I can’t get anywhere near that figure but I’m going to try to read 30. That might not seem much but I would be very pleased if I managed it.
Back to the Kindle. Part of what I’m starting to like about reading is owning books. I love bookshops, browsing through the aisles. I love second-hand bookshops even more, that musty smell of paper. Pre-loved books with character. I like to feel a book in my hands. When I finished reading for the night I’ll often sneak to see how far through the book I’ve read. I just don’t think I’d get that with a Kindle. Imagine we all had them, book cases empty. I think it’d be sad if one day my daughter couldn’t choose her bedtime story from the bookshelf. I want to make sure that I can do everything I can to make sure she doesn’t struggle as I have. I read to her every day which she loves. I’m hoping books will be her friends for life. Thank you for reading. Please let me know if you have a suggestion for me to read any fantastic books you have read.