Mentors and those who shaped your reading habits
I have never been too introspective about my love of reading but it’s clearly influenced by many things (interest, coincidence, and recommendations to name a few). As far back as I can remember I’ve always enjoyed it, so for me it’s a fact.
Who questions facts, absolute certainties?
I know there are many more reasons why I read and why I enjoy reading but have never felt the need to quantify it. I guess it would be similar for many: a thirst for knowledge, an escape from the mundane, a requirement for work/study, etc.
As a tween in the late eighties South London, I read a lot: anything and everything that I could get my hands on. At home, there were primarily only reference books and romance books (hence the reason for my Mills and Boons soft spot). Given the aforementioned, the library was a vital resource that was utilised heavily, let’s think of it as my best friend.
I was fortunate that my local library and school library had a great selection which helped in my then quest to read a little bit of everything until I found what I liked. I still have that philosophy however it’s now coupled with merged with a distinct preference for certain authors and genres.
In secondary school, I was expanding my scope and luckily enough to have an English teacher who took an interest in my interests. That period of time is a fuzzy haze for me, yet whilst I can’t remember the fine details I do know that I had a personal librarian: someone who wanted to talk to me about reading, authors and lent me books.
The photo above is of the books she shared with me, which I still have. They are well-read and much loved.
- Mindswap by Robert Sheckley
- The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut Jr
- Masters of Everon by Gordon R. Dickson
As you may already have gathered (from the blog or social media), I love rereading books that I enjoy and these three have been read multiple times. I would go as far as saying that Masters of Everon is up there in my top twenty best books.
I’m sure I would have gotten around to these books but not as early as I did. It also linked me to other authors within the genre. Nor would I have had anyone to discuss them with who was as riveted as I was. My genre taste of Science Fiction and Horror wasn’t widely shared by my peers and there were no local groups that I could tap into in those days. Unlike now via the internet there is a group literally for anything and geography isn’t the limitation it once was.
You’re probably wondering why do I still have them? Especially as I had the book purge when we moved and downsized. But there were some books that literally I couldn’t be without and these three along with a few others came along for the ride. Never again do I want to be in the position where I am desperate to find a book that I once read and can’t get hold of because it’s old, out of print or whatever reason it is that means for neither love nor money you can’t find or purchase a copy. It took me years of searching online and in charity shops to find a copy of Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge. Amazing story: SF interpretation of the Hans Christian Andersen fairy-tale, see the Amazon link here.
That’s why I couldn’t give up these books since they mean so much to me as both a great read and memories of the one who introduced me to them.
Thank you Mrs. C for your enthusiasm for the written word, your encouragement, book recommendations and time taken to discuss reading in general and these books in particular
Happy Teacher’s Day
It is a minor niggle even now whether these books were given to me or I neglected to return. And the more I think about it, it is likely the latter.
Let me take this opportunity now publicly to apologise. And I can honestly say that I appropriated/ kept fewer books because of this.
I too have been burned by book lending and it sucks. That’s another reason why ebooks are attractive to me. I’m not going to lend my entire bookcase (Kindle) to someone so it’s a proposition that never arises.