A book in my bag, a book on my bedside table, a book with me in the club or in the waiting room of a doctor. The scent of new books is like ambrosia for me, it is my life and I know now that I owe everything I have to books up to and including my sanity!
For as long as I remember, books were the only acceptable way for me to spend money. When I was as young as eleven or twelve years, I was scouring the bookshops for Shakespeare’s plays. Yes, the plays themselves were my goal for reading. I had been introduced to the simplified version in school as part of our English studies, but they were not enough. So, I went looking for the real thing. I need to confess I was a bit lost in the way the play was written but I read it and not just one play but many. Somehow, I managed to find a lot of them namely; Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummers’ Night Dream, Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet. I would like to tell you that was quite a feat for me since we were in a community where books were around but not in abundance. What we had in abundance were great teachers and a good curriculum with more than excellent books. Nowadays, books are also available in e – modes on tablets and devices like Kindle. Of course, nothing beats a book in one’s hand – each book somehow has it own reader – here are some of the best sellers in all genres.
Of course, as a young girl, I enjoyed reading the romantic plays much more than the drama. For example, I read Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer’s Night Dream, Much Ado About Nothing; an innumerable number of times while the tragic Hamlet or Macbeth; just a few times. But as I grew up I learned more about this great writer and I learned not just to love reading his work but to appreciate what Shakespeare has given us and the buried values and the even fun way he depicted it and wove it into his books.
Side by side with my love for Shakespeare, was my equal if not more love for Charles Dickens: David Copperfield, Oliver Twist, Huckleberry Finn, Pickwick papers; were read too many times to count.
As for A Tale of Two Cities; it saw my tears and smiles, through the horror and the pain and on to a brighter future; and I kept going back to read it again and again, till the present day.
Another great novel that I cannot help reading every time I find it in my hands till this day is; The Prisoner of Zenda for Anthony Hope. This book has a special place in my heart, a place that can only be for this great piece of work.
Here are two editions, the old one is the one I read and the other is the edition I took from my kids!
Agatha Christie was not just a favorite, but I read and reread all her books to the extent that nowadays as I see the newly published editions, I almost know all the books on display.
It goes without saying, that I also loved reading the occasional romance and light novel. And, it was obvious from that time that I was a bookworm since I could not put a book down until I had not only finished it till the last page and even “THE END” had to be read.
Sadly, there were years when I could not have any access either to my old books or to new ones. The reasons were numerous but when I could lay my hands on an old, used, even torn book; that was a feast to the senses for me. It was the only window through which I could communicate with the world, the only way I wanted to.
Some years later, I managed to start buying books again, and once I started buying books I can only say that I could not stop, and I have not stopped till now. It never seems to matter that if I buy books then I will have to bypass another item I might be in need of. Invariably books were always more important and the top of any list for me. At the moment, I have no idea how many books are in residence, in my room, and I have gone through all books by modern writers like Sophie Kinsella, Christina Dodd, Cecilia Ahern and more. But the unwavering love I hold for Nora Roberts is the abiding kind of love. I respect her writing and the diversity of topics that does not lessen the value of her books. I made it my special mission to get every book she wrote – old or new. Of course, there are a lot I still haven’t got and she is still writing – thank you Nora.
I have no idea how many books I read up till now, and how many I have here at home with me; but I do still mourn for the hardcovers like Scarlett Pimpernel, Arabian nights, the Three Musketeers, Knights Of The Round Table, Shakespeare plays, and so much more I had as a girl, that I haven’t been able to bring along with me or to replace.
What took me too long to discover, and for that, I can never forgive myself, is that inside me it was not just a love for the written words that was at my core; but the love of writing as much as reading, if not more.
Nowadays, a day is only a good day if I had managed to do some freestyle writing of my own. For that, I thank every pain I went through, every piece I wrote and cleared because it wasn’t what I had in mind or what I could accept as my work, and though it might sound strange, I thank those who gave me instructions for work they wanted from me even the rude ones.
In a moment of illumination, I now appreciate every bit of hardship I have been through and above all, I thank God for bearing with me and guiding me to this point in my life and pushing me forward when all I wanted was to fall under the pressure.