I am trying - I really am trying. To READ more books! I have loved the feel and smell of books and the stories they tell from the time I could read. We know that storytelling has been a form of communication throughout the history of humanity. Stories, spoken aloud, have been passed down from generation to generation in every civilization around the world. The merit of being able to tell a good, entertaining story cannot be overstated.
For me reading became my lifeline and saviour. Stories sustained me through many long years of emotional, psychological, physical, and sexual abuse. Books were my only true friends throughout my years of friendless isolation. Reading allowed me to glimpse other worlds while helping me fashion dreams of a positive future. Whilst recently writing my soon to be published autobiography I realised how books and their stories had been the foundation of my continuing love of learning.
Unfortunately, while growing up I was always made to feel guilty when I had, as mum described it, my nose stuck in a book. Funnily, that residual feeling of guilt often still grips me when I’m caught idly reading and not using my time productively. We were itinerant seasonal workers and books were my companions during those lonely friendless formative years. I always made sure I had a paperback stuck in my jeans back pocket so I could have a quick read during our lunch break. Then at night I would read by torchlight under the bed covers. Then, during our long dreary days of travel between jobs in other towns or states, the days were made more bearable if I had a book to read. Regrettably, Mum was forever complaining that I should be enjoying the scenery rather than reading.
Nowadays, it is not unusual for me to have at least two or more books on the go, often only half read. Why? Usually not because I don’t like the content, it simply depends on my frame of mind what genre I choose to read on any day. I have a very eclectic taste, anything from fantasy sci-fi, autobiography, self-help/self-improvement and new age, astrology, psychology and philosophy, crime (I love David Baldacci) and a smattering of others from time to time.
I wonder, are there many of you who are like me? Do you have that little gremlin sitting on your shoulder - who tempts you cheekily when, just by chance, you walk into a bookstore tucked away somewhere in an out of the way arcade? Just for a browse mind you! When this happens, I sternly tell my little gremlin friend, ‘I’m just browsing, not buying- now hush your mouth.” Then to guarantee I definitely do not weaken and buy another book I sternly remind myself ‘you don’t need another book Joilie – BUT, on the other hand, if one jumps out at you well that’s okay. And inevitably there is always that one lonely soul that does.
In recent years I have been converted to audio books. I can’t remember the last time I listened to the car radio, there is always an audio book on the go. Perhaps it’s because as a small child I grew up listening to the radio Playhouse performances that I enjoy audio stories so much. With audio you are free to use your imagination as the story unfolds and it’s waiting when you next hop in your car. Being the audio tragic that I am, I often find myself sitting in my car in the driveway after returning home from shopping, listening to the end of a chapter, not wanting to miss an exciting part of a story.
I’m hoping, once this enforced or voluntary home isolation comes to an end, I will hear that many of you have reconnected with your personal reading enjoyment. So many of you have spent endless hours and years reading to your children while neglecting your own reading needs. Lets all make it a priority now; after all a book is a private place in your own imagination where no one can intrude. Let’s watch the negative news and media outpourings less and commit to reading more good books. After all, the libraries are full of inspiring, educational and entertaining stories for us to enjoy – let’s just do it.