As long as I can remember I loved reading. A whole new world opened up when I discovered Saartjie, Trompie, Keurboslaan and Maasdorp books. I really do think this love affair started in about Grade 2 for me. I was absolutely devastated when I discovered the library at school and they made me borrow books with lots of pictures and about 2 words per page. I was not allowed to borrow proper books from the big kids section.
It was always a battle between my mom and myself because I wanted to go to the municipal library about every 2 days because my allocation of books would be finished and obviously my mom could not fit it into her busy schedule. So we only went about every 2nd or 3rd week. When my library books were finished I would devour antyhing that has print on it. My mom’s old books – I think that is how I ended up reading those Marilyn French books about womans lib – I think the one was called The Womans Room at the age of about 12 – maybe a bit too much information for a 12 year old to have!!
However after a very short while the kids section at the library was not much fun anymore because I’ve read everything in it. My mom had to get special permission for me to take books out from the adult section of the library. And then I discovered English books – boy ohhh boy – there were about 10 times the variety of the Afrikaans section! I was hooked even more.
My highlight was always when we went to my Mother’s parents – my grandad was also an avid reader and belonged to a bookclub in the ’70s. Here I must qualify – it was all these very soppy Afrikaans “Mills and Boon” type of books BUT it was something to read!
When we lived in the Bahamas I really struggled because the island had only 1 bookshop and the book buyer and I did not have the same taste in books. So every trip in America was planned around a visit to a used bookstore where I would buy 20 or 30 soft covers.
A new world opened up to me in England where books are cheap and where you can read for hours on the train to and from work. How amazing. My heart broke into pieces when I had to sell all my books when we moved back to SA.
Back in SA I was gutted – the books were expensive and the variety was small. I could only buy the cheap books at Fascination Books and they were sometimes really just the bottom of the barrel variety of books. So I learned to read but not really pay attention – it was something to do. Once in a while I would splurge on a proper book, only when it was thick enough to guarantee at least a week’s worht of reading.
And then – my Kindle – the new love of my life. But now I’ve discovered that I’ve dumb down. Where I was always eager to try any literature and would grab at the chance to read a Booker Price winner etc, I know prefer the romantic comedies or chic literature – not as bad as reading Danielle Steel yet but almost there. Why is that – is it because there is just so much else on my mind and reading has to be fit in between Zoe, work, running on the road and running a house? Is it because I do not have time to really sink into a book but always have to read with only one eye because the other eye must be on Zoe and both ears must listen to her babbling away?
I don’t know, all I know is that I still love reading but I don’t want to concentrate too much.
Hmmmm maybe I should go and look for those Marilyn French books again, they were interesting at 12, I can only imagine how interesting they would be now!