Saturday, 3 December 2011

The reading bug with Dick and Dora

Dick and Dora 1960ish
Tracing my love of reading takes me back to my first book experiences as a five year old. I am told that on the first day of school rather than cling to my almost tearful, worried Mum I ran over to the book corner and got ensconced without a backward glance. My learning to read schemes must have given me something despite the fact that they look pretty dreary half a century later. In 1960 infant reading schemes in the UK were split between readers that involved Janet and John and those that involved what was probably the older - Dick and Dora. Our school was in the Dick and Dora camp. Just look at the wonderful pictures!

I was an avid reader and devoured Enid Blyton especially but also liked the Just William books, Arthur Ransome  and Jennings and Derbyshire. Having read them all I had to have permission to move to the adult section of the local library before 11 and then had authors like Gerald Durrell, Conan Doyle, Wodehouse and Wheatley to pursue. Not really any adolescent fiction then. Much more choice now of course. When I started on the A level English route my teacher gave us a book list that she said would make us book snobs for the rest of our lives. It contained, of course, the Huxleys and Hemingways of the world. I can recall feeling distinctly guilty reading Jacqueline Susann at 18 when I started to deviate from the list for some light reading.
so much to read....!
I decided not to do a degree in English because I was worried that it would take away all the pleasure I got from reading by analysing them out of existence. Now my biggest worry is not being able to remember books after I have read them - even books I have loved. I cannot even recall them long enough for a good discussion about them, unless I record as I go along. Feel like a goldfish brain sometimes. I have even been known to choose the same book again unaware I have read it until my partner tells me.

Still whatever my memory I do agree with this quote from George R R Martin:

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one."

1 comment:

  1. My school was of the Janet & John variety! I too loved Jennings & Derbyshire and bought an omnibus for Gerry's birthday this year, as he didn't read them when he was young. They're next on list to read - can't wait!