When it comes to the combination of the words ‘books’, ‘reading’ and ‘influence’, the first person who springs to my mind is my gran. But to understand why, maybe I should backtrack to the time I was reading everything and anything I could get my hands on, I think I was around seven or eight years old. I just loved reading - from Farthing Wood to Balloon Boy, everything was devoured and it was about this time that my gran introduced me to the concept of the library. Rather than trying to stifle my interest in books, my gran made sure I was allowed to embrace it, signing me up to my very first library card - it’s a day I’ll never forget. All those towering bookshelves full of books, and I could take any I wanted (at least from the children’s section) and take them home to read…..and then I could come back and get more! It was definitely one of those days where I felt like five Christmases had come at once.
For myself and my Gran, books have become our own secret language. We share books, talk about books, listen to radio shows about books. It’s books books books. I often find it difficult to find people who really understand my need to read, my passion for the different stories and my intimate friendships with make-believe characters. But with my gran, there’s never a need to feel ashamed or embarrassed. I never have to hide my enthusiasm. She lets me be myself. And for that, I will be forever grateful.
My parents have certainly never told me that reading was bad but my mam isn't a reader and will often comment on the other things I could be doing with my life when I have my nose stuck in a book. While my dad is an avid reader, he doesn't quite understand my 'speed-reading' and feels that I must not be able to "enjoy" a book because I read it so fast when in fact, it's just my natural reading speed.
A "cheers" to all the people who encouraged my hobby :)