Sunday, 20 February 2011

In the beginning there was no TV

When I was a child my parents refused to have a TV in the house. They were on some kind of hippy-trip which deemed television to be extremely detrimental to the development of the imagination.

As far as I was concerned back then, NOT having a television was extremely detrimental to the development of my social standing in the playground. But I have to say that now I am eternally grateful to my parents for being television fascists. Not having an electronic box to gawp at night after night meant that I was forced into a world of imagination, and more specifically, a world of books.

And over the years books have provided a never-ending source of enjoyment, inspiration and escape.

During the toughest times of my life - my parents' divorce, my own divorce, loved ones' and my own ill health - books have provided me with answers, hope and support. To me there is something truly magical about opening the covers of a book and being able to immerse myself in another world.

And the best books are like the most memorable lovers or friends - once read never forgotten.

It would be lovely to hear from readers of this blog (once I have some readers of this blog!)what their unforgettable reads have been.

In the mean time, here are some of mine:

  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - I remember so wanting to be Laura with her twinkly-eyed, fiddle-playing Pa and the handsome Almanzo - the writing was so vivid it really felt as if I were there with her, out on the wild prairie rather than holed up in my bedroom on a north London estate.
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - I don't think any book has effected me quite so powerfully as the Aslan 'death' scene.
  • The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. I got particularly hooked on these books when my mum had to go into hospital for a few weeks when I was ten. Getting immersed in the mysteries proved a welcome distraction from my anxieties about my mum.
  • The Catcher in the Rye by JD Sallinger. The voice of the central character blew me away.
  • Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach. A beautiful book that made me rediscover my joy for living following my traumatic divorce.
  • The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I read this book last year and it is my favourite young adult book ever. Ever. The writing is exquisite and the characters are the kind that make you wish you lived in their world.
As a writer I can only hope that my books provide readers with the kind of enjoyment and inspiration that I have been lucky enough to receive over the years...

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