To celebrate International Day of Happiness, I wanted to share with you where my love of reading came from, what books mean a lot to me and why reading makes me so very happy!
Books and reading have always been an important part of my life since a very young age…and I mean young, my first word wasn’t mum or dad it was book! I was born a bookworm and my passion for reading has grown and grown ever since.
I have vague memories of my parents and my grandparents reading to me throughout childhood. One vivid memory is of my Nanny Jean reading a book about a lady who worked in a supermarket I don’t remember the title of the book I just remember my Nanny Jean crossing out spelling mistakes and errors and teaching me the right words. She was awesome like that!
One of my favourite books when I was little was my “pressy book” The books where you read along and press the buttons down the side to go along with the story. Mine was 101 Dalmatians and I went mental for that book, I’ve seen videos of me hyperventilating over the “pressy book” wish it was acceptable as an adult to be so insanely happy over a book.
Seeing the photo of it now just brings a massive smile to my face, I can literally remember every single noise each button made!
Other less interactive books I loved as a young child where Jane Hissey’s Little Bear stories. To this day I still have the box set of books and the little bear cuddly toy which are both in pristine condition even though they are about 20 years old. I took care of my books even at a very young age, no spine bending or page turning for me even at 4-5 years old! This is something that makes me so happy when I buy and read books. Keeping them as perfect and new as I possibly can, is a talent that I succeeded in from a young age.
SCHOOL YEARS – PRIMARY
As I got older I always remember reading the “keystage” like lightening. I was one of the first kids in primary to start reading books from the library instead of the dull curriculum books. This was exciting and a whole new world opened up where I could choose books myself. I was obsessed with reading, I remember waking up extra early before school sitting next to the warm radiator and reading as much as I could before my mum was screaming at me to get ready.
My favourites to read at this age were probably the magical fantastical weirdness of Roald Dahl, the captivating old school mysteries of Nancy Drew and anything and everything by Jacqueline Wilson. A horrid teacher in primary school told me I was getting too old to be reading Jacqueline Wilson and I should be reading Little Women or Little House on the Prairie… I can appreciate these novels now and understand she wanted to expand my reading world but at 9 years old I wanted to bask in the awesomeness of Illustrated Mum and Tracey Beaker thank you very much!
SCHOOL YEARS – SECONDARY
An exciting time where I expanded my reading a lot, the library was bigger you got to study books, your new friends gave you ideas of what to read next all very exciting! I think there are two books, which stick in my mind from secondary school are The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger and The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald.
The Catcher in the Rye changed my life… okay a bit over dramatic but it’s still my favourite book of all time. It’s the only book I think I’ve ever read more than 10x. It’s a hard book to explain and I’m not quite sure what I love about it, I think its just quite different and I relate to the character. No idea but I love it! I know I bang on about it all the time and I know 99% of people hate it but I don’t care I have no shame!
By the time I finished school I was reading a wide variety of books but I think what helped me expand this further were my parents. My dad has always enjoyed books by Dean Koontz, Stephen King and lots of fantasy novels. My mum enjoys classics, romance and autobiographies. I really got into a lot of classics in my early 20s enjoying books such as Pride & Prejudice, Tess of the D’Urbivilles and Jane Eyre. Now that I was a bit older I could understand the writing a lot more and relished in the old style romances. On the other hand I got into all the books my dad loves such as Dean Koontz’s Watchers and Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, two of my favourite books.
ON MY TRAVELS
Two Years ago I went travelling for 6 months. I wanted to take loads of books with me like I usually do on holiday but that wasn’t practical. I read a couple of books on my ipad and phone but after a while I was desperate to get my clutches on a real life book! Unbeknown to me, a lot of hostels have book swaps! Jackpot!! I read about 15 books in 6 months. A lot of terrible books, a lot of amazing books and a lot of books I would never have thought about reading before. The one that sticks in my mind is a Jeffery Archer Novel, As the Crow Flies. What an amazing book follows the journey of the character Charlie and his triumphs and disasters owning his own shop that would sell everything. There’s plot twits, betrayal, love, ambition dreams. I loved every page of that book. Reading whilst travelling expanded my reading knowledge further but also books were a comfort, if I was bored one day or on my own I could just sit around at the lake or whilst on public transport reading a book. I’m not saying I didn’t meet or talk to people, but books were a lovely comfort to me whilst on planes and in hostels. Keeping me happy and I felt less lonely at times.
I am now in my late 20’s, I work full time and have a pretty active social life so it’s hard to get time to sit and read for hours and hours. Saying that I managed to read 40x books last year, which isn’t bad going. I have been going to a book club for over a year where I have expanded my reading yet again and it’s nice to socialise with others who love reading as much as I do. I absolutely love book club and it’s one thing I really look forward to every single month. I also subscribe to Reading in Heels which I LOVE! Not only do you get books but loads of awesome treats, I get so excited when it comes every month. I certainly buy too many books I think I currently have 18 on the shelf that I haven’t read yet I still keep buying more. I can’t help myself! I’ve noticed recently I am reading a lot of memoirs, autobiographies and non fiction. Not being at school you don’t get the change to learn as much and I find this a great way to keep learning.
Well there you go… A timeline of happy memories of books and reading from my life. I hope you enjoyed it, I enjoyed writing about it. What books are important to you? Do any stick in your mind from childhood that you adored? Why does reading make you do happy? I would love to know. Thanks for reading Katie x