Someone asks you: “How many books are you reading at the moment?”
What would your answer be?
If you said “three”, then you got the same answer as me!
Only I was wrong. I’m actually reading six books right now. Six?!
#1 - The Lord of The Rings
This is the book I have been reading the longest for … um, ok, let’s just say it’s rather longer than a year!! 😛 Strictly speaking, L and I are reading this together.
The Christmas after we started going out, L and I stayed with his family for a week and both L and his Mum went down with some yucky sickness bug on Christmas morning – yeah, they were miserable! 😦 Oh yeah, and I was left to myself with a L’s Dad, sister, brother and sister-in-law, all of whom I’d met for the first time only a few days ago … and I helped said sister and sister-in-law cook a massive Christmas dinner, something I’d never done before in my life!! I’m sure the fact that L’s sister (now my sister-in-law!! he he) and I are such good chums is owed to the bonding done that first Christmas over trying to work out how long to roast the turkey for and whether or not the bread sauce was the right consistency!! 😉
In an effort to bring some kind of comfort to my bed-ridden boyfriend, I offered to read to him. Out of the three books I had with me, the only one which took L’s fancy was The Hobbit. I was reading it for the first time and was 2/3rds of the way through, but as he already knew the story, I carried on reading it aloud to him as he gradually got back on his feet.
Then L found out that I had never watched or read The Lord of The Rings either! Being an enthusiast of the book from I think it was 11/13, he declared I must read the book before I watched the films. I’ve watched the films of books I love and found them disappointing numerous times, so I agreed.
I had grabbed this old (and now, after numerous journeys in bags, knapsacks and suitcases and falling off the bed when I’ve fallen asleep mid-sentence, even more beaten-up!) copy from a second-hand bookshop for 2.50 -bargin! So the very next time L and I spent a Saturday together, once we’d finished The Hobbit, one wet, rainy and gray January afternoon in 2010, I tucked this weighty volume in my kithen-sink of a bag and prepared to enter the wonderous world of the Hobbits, which I had already fallen in love with through Mr Baggin’s own book.
We have made often slow, sometimes fast and always sporadic progress through the three volumes of the trilogy. We finished the first book a while ago and are about half way through the second.
I’m the one that reads out loud and for some reason, there is nothing that sends to sleep faster!! Especially in the months leading up to our wedding, when I was exhausted all the time, I would maybe get through a whole page before drifting off … !! L teases me that I can fall asleep mid-word and don’t even put the book down and turn the light off before my eyes are shut, but I don’t even realise I’m doing it!! he he 😛
My aim is to finish it before this next Christmas … let’s see if we manage it!! 😀
Have you read either The Hobbit or The Lord of The Rings? Or both?! What did you think of them?
#2 - Chasing Darkness
It might come as a surprise to some that I love, really love, reading detective/mystery/crime books!! I guess it all started aged four, when my older sister J and I used to beg every night for “just one more” chapter of The Secret Seven.
We read, were read aloud, or listened on tape to numerous Secret Seven, Famous Five and The Adventure series by Enid Blyton. At one time we heard a couple of The Five Findouters, but they didn’t stick around with us for long and all I can remember from those stories is a red-faced policeman and the writing of a letter in invisible ink – which could only be read once it was ironed! 😀
When round at church family’s houses I remember seeing bits of a cartoon (we didn’t have tv, just a video-player from when I was … about 8ish I think) about a detective mouse – did any of you watch this cartoon? What was it called?!
We had this cool book that I loved looking at, which was drawn in cartoon-like characters, mostly pictures with just some paragraphs on each page (the kind of book I liked the most until I was 13 and decided I liked reading! 😛 ). It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that it was an educational book, and not just a story … I never connected the characters (called things like Noun, Verb, Adverb …) to the English grammar I loved learning about and I never realised that all the adventures these little detective guys got up to, were each examples and illustrations of the function of the English word-type they were representing … !! 😛 But hey, I realised this before I got to 10 (I think?!) and before that the book did it’s job, as I loved English grammar and it was one of my better subjects in school.
I think the most engaging element of this book for me, was that it was all about detectives rooting out the bad guys, robbers (yup, complete with blue-and-white-stripped tops, black eye-masks and brown sacks over their shoulders!) always trying to get away, but never quite making it and lots of mysterious places, disguises and travels to exotic locations … ! What more could a kid want?! And in a format that made it possible to make up numerous different stories from just one picture!!
Through years of playing so many different types of imaginary games, my sisters and I had two main themes (ok, correct me if I’m wrong here girls! 😉 ) that were consistent (with variations) through the years –
1) Old-fashioned: poor miner’s wives after we’d visited an old reconstructed miner’s village; poor families or maid’s of the great house, when we were learning about the Victorians; highwayman and their captives when reading a story about highwayman during the Stuart times; princely heroes, deadly villans (I loved playing the villan and scared my youngest sister so much with my evil chuckle – sorry Lady G …!!) and castles containing fair maidens in distress when we were learning about or reading stories about the times of Knights, Ladies and Castles; Robin Hood I talked about in a previous post; and later, and much more consistently, The Importance of Being Earnest and all Jane Austen novels/films, or variations-there-on.
2) Detectives/Spies/Lawyers: My older sister J and I, at I’m not sure what age, got these little doctors-nurses cases from a very old-fashioned store called Banburys, which to the little girls we were, had absolutely everything on its shelves that anyone could ever want and a great number of things beside (does this till exist anywhere?!). They had little syringes, thermometers, stethoscope, scissors and a little role of bandage, all housed in this little tiny red suitcase with clip-shut closers. Kids loose things, separate things, have multiple purposes for one item.
Those little red cases were secret computers for spies, the holders-of-all-secret-knowledge for detectives, the keepers of the earings-of-power (a pair of gaudy gold-and-bright-green plastic clip-ons that were in a party-bag …) …Most often, spy/detective secret cases, complete with a code-alphabet we got out Mum to write for us, stuck with blue-tack inside the lid. The number of messages we wrote to each other “in code”; the number of times one of us proclaimed “no, you can’t see me, I’m wearing a DISGUISE!!”
At one point we formed this club called the “S6” = The Secret Six, which had four active members – my sisters and I – and two honorary members in the form of our parents. We made badges, created passwords, “solved cases” like a missing toy and even wrote a little news-sheet or two. We had our very own version of The Secret Seven … only for some reason we never came across any adventures quite as exciting as theirs!! 😛
As we got older, this morphed into playing lawyers defending their clients. I’m not sure what started this transistion, but I do know that unwanted house particulars (my parents were thinking about moving at that time – yes, my sisters, you may laugh at my polite generalization! 😛 ) magazines with lots of pages, and copious “notes” (ie. bank pieces of lined paper with wavy-lines all over them, which we doodled on during our so-called listening-to-clients!). Our friend from our street was Miss Christine French and we had so many complicated cases on the go at one time.
As you get older, games become boring, unsatisfying and you begin the ever-growing longing to do and complete activities that have a grounding in reality; the yearning to interact with real people – not just the Mr Brown and the Mrs Humphries fighting an imaginary battle-turned-law-suit; the Robin Hood defending from injustice the tortured poor you can’t see; the detective following a spy who doesn’t exist.
So now I’m “all grown up”, I fight injustice by learning how to help teenagers help themselves, I fight a very real battle against the things in my life which threaten to overcome me – just without the aid of lawyers – and as the only mystery solving I get to do is working out how to write a 2500 word essay in two days or how to make £30 worth of grocery only cost £25 – I read detective and crime stories, letting my imagination make them as close to real as I’m going to (thankfully!) get.
What kind of books do you like reading best? Why?