It occurred to me last night (and frankly it should have occurred to me a lot earlier) that books are probably my biggest Positive Thing. I was reading a book I haven’t read before – The Dragonfly Pool, by Eva Ibbotson, and I realised how far away from the present the book was taking me – something happened that brought me back to reality, and I saw how far into the story the words had taken me – which is the mark of a good book, of course.
I have always loved reading – I remember doing my Readers badge, when I was a Girl Guide, and one of the things I had to do was to keep a list of all the books I read over three months – and it ran to something like 19 pages. Luckily my Guider was also my English teacher, and knew me well, otherwise she said she wouldn’t have believed the length of my list!
One of the side effects of the depression, for me, has been that I have found it difficult to read challenging or complex literature, so have stuck mainly to what is called Chick Lit – the lighter end of the market. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with these sorts of books – as long as they are well written, and the reader is drawn into the stories. But I do feel as if I am living on a diet of literary junk food, and could do with a bit more good-for-me literature in my life.
Funnily enough I was talking to my friend L, at choir – we sit next to eachother – and we got talking about reading – she is reading Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel at the moment, and is going to lend it to me when she has finished it. I was bemoaning the fact that I would love to be part of a book club, but the only one I know of locally meets on a Monday night, which clashes with choir – and in a reckless moment, I may have said that perhaps I should set one up – and L said she would love to come along if I did. So now I think I will have to give it a go – which is a bit scary, but would be such a good thing for me to do, and I am sure it would be fun once it was up and running. Plus, of course, it would make me read books that I might not have chosen for myself, which would also be a Good and Positive Thing.
When I was at school, I won a prize (I can’t remember what subject it was for), but we all got given book tokens to go and choose our own prizes (I chose a hardback copy of Jane Eyre) – and my book token had a quote on the front, that I have never forgotten:
“Books are the treasured wealth of the world – a fit inheritance for generations and actions”.
Then there is my second favourite quote about books:
“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read”.