Reading has always been a hobby of mine and since a very young age I have loved to read. Throughout my life I have grown and changed, as we all do, and besides me my books have grown thicker, the text shrunk smaller and the content evolved.
Enid Blyton was my most memorable childhood literary love affair. I must have been around eight years old when I fell in love with her books and began dreaming of going to boarding school where I would sneakily have midnight feasts without matron finding out, play tricks on the French teacher and have a generally jolly good time. The adventures I read about were old-fashioned and my mother had enjoyed them in her own childhood, in a completely different language, but that didn’t stop me from being enthralled by them.
Even now I still find them timeless and am unable to emotionally or physically part with the books as battered and worn out as they are. What child wouldn’t want to travel to an island in a small rowing boat, with a group of merry friends, a dog and a picnic to solve a great mystery and triumph over the grown ups? I was terribly disappointed when my younger sisters did not share my love, one reading only a single series (Malory Towers) before dismissing the author and another ignoring the books entirely. Whether they are still in fashion or not, my children will read Enid Blyton, even if I have to tie them down. That’s how passionate I am.
Once I had completed them all and reached pre-adolescence I regretfully had to leave Blyton behind and enter the then popular phase of broken families, divorced parents, abandoned kids…. Jacqueline Wilson. Her books were much more gloomy and depressing than the magical adventures of Enid Blyton’s fantasy characters but yet they were an addictive and necessary introduction to the real world, where not everything is happy families. Instead of boarding school, I wanted to live in a care home and my parents’ marriage was too harmonious.
Then, along with the dreaded teenage years, in which I am still currently stuck in, comes the dreadful vampire phase. Dark and predictable with typically black covers, the misunderstood human girl always falls in love with the unnaturally handsome vampire. Once you read one, you’ve read them all but that doesn’t stop you from doing just that. It must be a social trend rather than an actual interest in the mythical beings because no one ever reads Dracula. Maybe they would if it took place in a highschool and was a major motion picture?
In between phases there are also periods of inactivity as I abandon my books and momentarily lose interest, starving myself until I can bear it no longer ripping open a new chapter in my literary life as I devour all words in sight.
As of a few days ago, I have entered a new, more mature, slightly more sophisticated and definitely more intellectual era; the classics. I have realized that I have not read nearly enough classics as I should and have decided to rectify that immediately, starting with Pride and Prejudice, a book which I have previously attempted and discarded and which not even the movie could animate me. However, upon reading it a second time, with an open mindset, I find myself to be captivated by the romance and chivalry ,although I am a bit critical of the writing style. Jane Austen seems incapable of allowing her character’s actions or dialogue to speak for themselves and feels the need to describe their personalities in order of appearance be it good humour or an unpleasant disposition. She also seems to forget that as the Bennet family consists of five daughters, addressing them as a single Miss Bennet can create confusion for the reader.
Not even a quarter way through and I have unleashed my literary genius, commenting and criticizing as if I knew better than one of the best writers in British history. In my opinion, reading classics increases your intellect or in the very least increases your appearance of intellect. So in the interest of seeming more intellectual, I have resolved to read more classics, despite most people having a negative connotation with the very word, immediately translating classic to boring before getting past the acknowledgements page.
Dickens, Bronte… any suggestions?