Thursday, 20 September 2012

A trip down the reading rabbit hole...

A trending topic on Twitter grabbed my attention this afternoon. #BooksIGrewUpWith. I'd barely been on Twitter five minutes and had already fired off a diverse list of books that I grew up adoring, and still read and love to this day. I realised as I was furiously tweeting that reading has always been a large part of my life and has shaped me as a person far more than I had realised.

I learned to read when I was two. My first book was the wonderful Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. Something about Max's magical adventure enthralled me, and as I looked back at the mound of children's books I still own I realised that pretty much all of my favourite books as a child featured some sort of magical adventure.

There was, of course, the Harry Potter series (I'm guilty of adhering to 90s kid clich├ęs!) as well as the wonderful books set in a mystical, imaginative world where lions talk and beavers have a mothering instinct (and also, Turkish delight is the nectar of the gods). Dr Seuss features pretty prolifically in my childhood treasure trove of books, sitting prettily alongside Mr Roald Dahl. And then there is, predictably, Alice's Adventures In Wonderland. The book that I'm pretty sure turned me into the creative, imaginative daydreamer I am today. (I'm not sure I've gone longer than a week without speaking of Alice In Wonderland in some form online)

I'll find the right entrance one day.

I have my mother to thank for my love of literature. Like my grandfather, my mum is an avid reader and always encouraged my reading habit as a child. She would discover new books for me, tolerate me trying to throw myself down every rabbit hole I could find as a child, and would listen to me creating additional chapters for the books I loved the most.

I'm not really sure there's a greater gift a mother (or father) can give. The love and respect for literature has followed me around for 19 years now, and I'm certain it's the reason I love writing so much. Maybe I'll never create a world as magical as Wonderland or Hogwarts, nor as enchanting as Narnia, and I'll probably never figure out where the Wild Things reside, but I can continue to daydream. I love and appreciate my mum so much for starting me off on such a magical path in life and I know wholeheartedly that if I ever have children, they'll have a library full to the brim of old and new classics and I'll encourage the love of reading in them. I think I owe it to the great minds who had a hand in raising me.

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