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The importance of reading – My writer journey part seven

October 12, 2017

One of the things I like to do is wander through bookshops. It’s my favorite pastime not involving a TV or a couch chair and my TBR pile. (Which is currently mountain sized and growing daily.) I don’t always wander looking for something that will interest me, sometimes I go to check out the covers, or for the atmosphere, which is calming to me. Then, there are days I go to look for books that my nieces and nephews might read. I have many friends with children too. I look for books that are fun, colorful, diverse and memorable.

To the consternation of many of my friends I often buy these books for the children that I know as random gifts. I often hear “you don’t have to” and yes, that’s true. I don’t have to. I want to. I want to invite these children to enjoy the worlds of believe and make believe the way I did as a child. I remember reading books that transported me to different worlds and taught me things I couldn’t have learnt from my parents or friends or school. I learnt to get inside the head of someone else and feel what they felt and fear what they feared, and be strong and fight, and be a hero.

I don’t have to buy books or lend books to them. I want to.

For me, reading is soooo important. It teaches a wider vocabulary, it teaches empathy and understanding, it teaches new experiences.

I think it also brings people together.

Together through shared fandoms and through families. (My best memories are of visiting my grandparents as a child. Each chair had a pile of books next to it as high as my waist. Every night both would pull out a giant tome and read, and then I would pull out my book and read too. Every weekend I visited them they would take me to the local libraries. I say libraries, because they often drove me to several because they couldn’t find new reads at the closest one. I’ve been told that when I was very little and was finally over my fear of my Poppa – I must have been very very little – I sat on his knee as he read to me. And he would often change the ending to which I would respond in quite a huff that he was “reading it wrong!”

They still read in their 90s (though my nana now has bad eyes, so we sometimes find him reading aloud to her – I bought her a book on CD and she seems to enjoy that too. My Poppa has a bad heart now, and can’t read the action books he used to love, “heart can’t take the stress” so now he reads romances. This is the joy that reading brings. This shows how a reader can become so involved in the story that he physically responds to the action.

I know I do.

So I buy books for children.

And I tell everyone I meet, through work, or theatre or via friends to read to their kids. Not only does the reading give a child a wider vocabulary but just the sound of a loving voice helping them to sleep or sitting close, wrapped in their arms, having cuddle time with a book is magical I think.

Last year my niece, let’s call her Miss Nine said to me that reading was like “watching a movie inside my head” Oh, I nearly burst with pride.

My nephew, let’s call him Mister Five said to me that he didn’t like reading. *GASP* Well I thought that’s not going to happen on my watch, and went hunting. I found “The Bad Guys” series and bought him the first one. Turns out… my brother-in-law thought it was hilarious… and ended up reading it with Mister Five. Over and Over.

*cue uplifting music*

So I got him book two. They got him book three and four. I got him five and just last weekend got him six which was just released! Apparently as soon as he grabbed it he turned to the back, gasped and said “there’s going to be a book seven!”

*angel choir singing, fireworks exploding overhead*

Doesn’t like reading my butt!

A few weeks ago, my sister even told me that he had taken one to his friend’s house and read it to him (well he is still learning to read but told his friend the story via the pictures)

OMG… *tears*

My other niece, (Madam Nine), read me the whole Green Eggs and Ham story. (She, who once told me she couldn’t read and hated it.)

This… This makes me unbelievably happy.

My best friend’s little Madam Four helped me pick out a book for Master One. “I think he’ll like this one!” She also picked out her own book that I could “buy her for her birthday” and much to my friend’s embarrassment I bought it right then and there.

I’ve started buying books for charities now. I have so many books I donate them to libraries, and give them away to friends.

It horrifies me is to read in the news or see on the TV that some people don’t have ANY books in their homes. That they style their homes in such a way that they don’t want the clutter or appearance. That people don’t read anymore or haven’t picked up a book since leaving school. That people only read because they “have to” for work not because the “want to” for enjoyment. *Gasp*

Why?

I love TV, I love movies. I love theatre. I love the visual medium and the stories told in bright flashy colors or dark moody shadows. I love the fandoms and online content. It makes my heart sing. But reading… Reading is just so important.

These days, I have an electronic reader. (To be fair, it is way easier to carry 20 books on the train this way!) but I still wander bookshops and I still buy books. My house has bookshelves overflowing with physical copies. I still love the smell, and the touch, and the pretty pretty covers. If I can give kids even a little bit of this enjoyment then I am happy. Like watching a movie inside their head. So adults… adults out there who say they “don’t have time” to read.

Make the time.

And share this time with your kids.

Every one I know knows that I “love books.” I tell them over and over, I show it over and over, I prove it over and over. I write and am working at getting my books published. My drive is the above. A little joy and magic seems to be missing from the world at the moment. One book at a time, one child at a time I am hoping to bring a little of this magic back.

What drives you?

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Eight

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