One of my earliest memories is snuggling up in my parents’ bed on a winters night with my mum and two younger brothers, listening to my mum reading us ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone’. From what I remember, my mum would read to us a lot as we grew up. Getting into our jimjams after a bath and sitting on the sofa to have my mum read to us is easily one of my fondest memories of my childhood. And I thank my mum so much as she always encouraged me to read as a kid.
When I started school, I read the typical Magic Key books (Who remembers them?! God, talk about Throwback Thursday!) and then progressed onto Paddington Bear books. Then as I got older, I got into the more ‘big girl’ books like Jacqueline Wilson and Princess Diaries. I was even obsessed with the Horrible Histories collection and owned them all at one point. At one point in my life, my dad lived 200 miles away from me so car trips down to his house every other weekend gave me the perfect opportunity to read – probably not a good idea when I suffered with travel sickness but I’d frequently finish a Horrible History book there and another one on the way back. Eight years old and I decided to brave the Harry Potter books by myself.. I’d seen the movies. I dressed up as Hermione every single World Book Day without fail. I pretending to be playing Quidditch on the school field whenever we played rounders or baseball at primary school. (Don’t judge me, you did that too.) So I thought I’d give the books ago since my dad had a habit of buying them the day they were released, reading them within a couple of days and then passing them onto me so I could read them. And that’s where reading pretty much ended for me. It took me three years to fully read ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’.
High school tried to encourage me to start reading again by assigning books to read in English Literature or having ‘reading time’ in tutor every week but I used to just use that time to catch up with my friends’ love lives via note passing at the back of the room, flicking the page of my book that was probably upside down ever so often so my form tutor didn’t get suspicious. My social life and studies took over my life, leaving me with next to no free time and any free time I had was spent watching television or sleeping, like the normal teenager.
So here I am, twenty-one years of age, with very little knowledge about literature apart from those God awful poems I had to study in GCSE English Literature five years ago. It was only the other week when I was stuck in Doncaster railway station for an hour before my train back to London that I thought I’d give reading ago again. And I haven’t stopped since. Although I’m not reading as much as I want to with having only a couple of weeks left of my degree and exams approaching far too quick for my liking, I’m definitely hooked again!
My plan for the summer is to begin on all the old classic books again. Thanks to my GCSEs, I’ve already read some classics, such as Oliver Twist, Great Expectations and A Christmas Carol. But I’m determined to revamp my bookshelf up and enrich my life with some timeless literature!
Any recommendations for books to read would be muchly appreciated!