“There is no friend as loyal as a book.” – Ernest Hemingway
When I was little I remember spending the mornings of my summer holidays at the local library; there used to be a whole summer program dedicated to children’s reading with daily challenges, activities and puzzles. For every book you read, and successfully answered questions on, you were awarded points and entry into prize draws. My trips didn’t last long but I remember the sense of accomplishment I felt once I had read another in a series of The Babysitter’s Club, Goosebumps, Sabrina the Teenage Witch and, my absolute favourite, Sweet Valley High.
When I was very little I remember my dad’s bedtime stories about Croc (my stuffed red crocodile), Rosebud (my favourite teddy), Snowy (a white stuffed seal) and Heidi (my favorite dolly). They now all sit in my wardrobe in perfect condition, in hopes of being passed down to my children – keeping the tradition alive. I will never forget my dad sitting by my bed and sending me off to sleep with their amazing adventures – it’s moments like this that I will truly remember forever. My little brother also had his own bedtime stories about his toys Buzz & Woody. He too treasures these childhood memories; his face still lights up every time he recalls how scared he was about the villainous ‘Witchy Poo’ and how delighted he was when Woody, Buzz and the toy soldiers saved the day – thanks Dad for these memories!.
I also remember my delight in having Enid Blyton (The Magic Faraway Tree was always my favourite), the Wind and the Willows and Rupert the Bear read to me; I remember these stories like they were old friends of mine.
For some reason however, my love of reading and stories slowly fizzled out once I became a teenager and this continued into my adulthood.
During my high school years I guess I preferred watching Buffy the vampire Slayer to reading, at college I didn’t seem to have any spare time between course work and placements to enjoy a good book, and then at uni reading anything that wasn’t remotely connected to my dissertation seemed a complete waste of time. It’s only until recently I’ve started to read again (I’ve just finished Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and re-read Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife) and it’s only until very recently I started going back to my local library…
This morning as I quietly tip toed inbetween the narrow library shelves I realised how much I still adore the peacefulness of a library. I love the quietness, the mutual respect between book lovers and the ability to simply borrow stories full of inspiration and promise. Needless to say I left with a canvas bag full of goodies; Nordic Crafts by Mia Underwood, Miss Hope’s Tea Time Treats by Hope & Greenwood and Vintage Projects by Vivienne Bolton to name a few. I even asked them to order in a few Enid Blyton books for my next visit to relive my childhood story time.
After a night of reminiscing and vowing to return to the devoted book reader I once was, i’m away to sit with a cup of tea and finally read the pile of books that have been sitting by my bed, while Heidi, Rosebud, Snowy and Croc sit patiently waiting for the day I retell their adventures in the bedtime stories of my children.