Saturday, 30 August 2014

Are you a reader?

I could not manage without my daily 'fix'.   It has always been thus since I learned to read at about the age of four.   Now it is The Times every day, the local paper on a Friday, The Lady magazine each Friday, four books from the Library every fortnight and anything else which is either put in my direction from various friends or about which I read a favourable review and can't resist from that 'so easy to order' Amazon.   I have a permanent list of my favourite authors in my handbag and have an extra thrill if I happen to find one of their books I haven't read.  I also have a bookshelf by my chair which contains various books which I read in odd moments - books which I have read many times (some in diary form) but always enjoy again.   All Ronald Blythe's books (The Wormingford Trilogy, River Diary, The Time by the Sea, The Yeoman's House etc.) sit there, as do Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea (I sometimes think I could go on Mastermind to answer questions about those two books!).

The farmer, on the other hand, never reads a book.   He reads his daily Yorkshire Post, his weekly Darlington and Stockton Times and his weekly Farmers' Guardian - and when I say 'read' I mean he literally reads them from cover to cover and the last two take him all week.

What makes some of us avid readers and others not?   I have recently read of several famous figures who have never read a book in their lives.  Maybe it is something about the way in which we were brought up.   

In a family where there was always a lot of work on the farm to be done, I think that reading was probably frowned on as being a waste of time which could be more usefully be spent doing some job which waited.

My parents, on the other hand, were both avid readers.   In those pre-television days after tea was reserved for maybe an hour's homework, or if I hadn't any then perhaps an hour's pencil and paper games (which I loved and which taught me so much).  After that until bedtime we all three read.   My father read mainly poetry from his large collection of books.   The only book other than poetry that I remember him reading (it was almost his bible) was 'The Ragged, Trousered Philanthropist'.   My mother, on the other hand, read romantic novels and I was reminded of this earlier in the week when there was an article in The Yorkshire Post about Naomi Jacobs, one of my mother's favourite romantic novelists.

Jacobs was born in Ripon and was a real eccentric.   Gay long before such activity was legal, she advertised the fact by always wearing mens' clothes, sporting a monocle and having her hair cut into an Eton crop.   She was very forthright, and spent most of her life living in Italy, going shortly before the end of the Second World War.   Being Jewish she was affronted, much to the embarrassment of the man at Passport Control, when he did not stamp her passport with the J which had become the law at the time of the Nazi regime.

Reading through this there is a certain amount of 'Stream of Consciousness' to today's post - I am a past master at this art as the farmer often points out.  I start on one subject and then go off at a tangent onto something else.   Still, it makes life interesting doesn't it?

22 comments:

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

Certainly does.
I read in bed and have three or four books on the go at any one time.
I also have the bookcase next to my favourite chair(which is also next to my laptop)which has my read and read again books.

the veg artist said...

I (in part) justify my Amazon habit by buying second-hand books where I can - I want the words, not the cover! Many then end up in the charity shop, which is a donation, yes? Perhaps someone else carries on the cycle. Not something that can be done with e-books, although I know they have their place too.
I cannot imagine a life without books. I was taught to read before going to school, and being the youngest child, had lots of 'inherited' anthologies, Grimms, Camelot and the like, although I also remember my brother's comics!

Rachel said...

I am a reader. P isn't. I am not sure if he has ever read a book. Probably not. He reads the Farmers Weekly all week, and the Commercial Motor, all week, and various tractor magazines, all week, and also my newspaper every night. I'm not sure that we ever have a conversation because he is reading and I am either watching football, or reading or doing both. My brothers don't read books and they are like P and have probably never read one but also read all the above magazines. Farmers boys don't have time for reading books. My mother was an avid reader and used to get under the counter books from someone who could get hold of banned books in the 1960s. I don't have a kindle, I get my books from the library or charity shops.

John Gray said...

I would have liked Jacobs me thinks

Elizabeth said...

Reading is one of my greatest joys!
Will read anything - Tolstoy or the back of the cereal box - Jacobs sounds fascinating.
I do recommend the Persephone Book list - all utterly readable!

George said...

Can't imagine not being a reader, Pat. Books have been the foundation of my life, and I have always regarded my favorite authors as friends — friends who would always be there when others could not be found.

Joanne Noragon said...

I began by reading cereal boxes, and my father took me to the library for my card as soon as I could write my name, age three. I once thought I could start at A and read my way through the library, but I soon became more selective.

Heather said...

I have always loved reading and as a small child I'm told I honed my skills on sauce bottle labels and public notices. My mother and her sisters introduced me to Naomi Jacob and we all enjoyed her books. You introduced me to Ronald Blythe and Roger Deakin and currently I am re-reading some of Gerald Durrell's books. I hardly dare read a newspaper at the moment but pick them up in the hope of learning some good news.

A Heron's View said...

Quote "Gay long before such activity was legal, she advertised the fact by always wearing mens' clothes,"

Actually Lesbianism was never criminalised in the UK.

jinxxxygirl said...

I'am an avid reader and i should really keep track of how many books i read in a year...lol...My parents were not readers BUT my grandmother who i adored loved to read... And one summer vacation spent with her in my early teens hooked me on romantic novels , which she always read...I soon gravitated to my own style of fiction...horror stories, adventure, science fiction, fantasy...mystery... And i have been hooked ever since... I had to laugh when you said you keep a list of your favorite authors in your purse as i do the same thing... I go a step further by listing the books by that author that i'am looking for.... I hate to buy duplicates... I used to read the local paper when i lived in TX but i haven't started since living in CA for two years... i guess i just don't feel invested in the community yet if i ever will... My husband does not read... ever.... My daughter used to read when she was little but has since fallen away from it in adulthood.. I have several series that i reread...my most beloved one is Lord of the Rings.....I don't do much poetry... I'm afraid i cannot wrap my head around most of it....the poetry i do like rhymes.. I have shelves and shelves full of hardcover books that are like friends really... If you buy from Amazon i should tell you about Half.com . A great place to get books that i have ordered from for years without any problems... I'll warn you the great prices can make it addictive.. Hugs! deb

Loren said...

Can't imagine being a blogger and not being a reader. At times, though, I think I spend too much time reading fellow bloggers and not enough time reading poetry.

How much I read on blogs because very clear when I go out birding for a week and come home and see all the entries in my RSS reader — at which point I delete all the old entries.

jane B said...

Always been a reader and get through several library books a week.
To me there's nothing better in winter than opening a new book whilst curled on the sofa next to the range - bliss.
Have you seen the Little Free Libraries in the US (& UK now) ?
http://thebeautyplus.com/little-free-libraries/
Great idea I think.

Bovey Belle said...

Well, I reckon it must be in the blood! I came from a household where there wasn't any spare money for books, though my dad had been Grammar School educated and was very intelligent. Mum was more of a Mills and Boon person, but just used to read the stories in her Woman's Weekly magazine. On the other hand I devoured books from the word go and even, goes and hides in a corner!!, STOLE a reading book from Infant school because I was so desperate to learn to read better. I think the teacher knew, but indulged my passion.

I CANNOT live without a book beside me, have several on the go, upstairs and downstairs, and always take a small book of Edward Thomas's poetry with me in my handbag, in case I have to hang around anywhere. I will even read the back of cereal packets or sauce bottles when sufficiently desperate! Needless to say we have thousands of books here, many reference books rather than novels. My husband is a keen reader too.

MorningAJ said...

I feel almost naked if I don't have a book on the go at any time. There's always something. And of course I recently read all 16 novels in the Repairman Jack series, straight after each other. No breaks. Now I feel like I've lost some good friends.

angryparsnip said...

I used to be an avid reader. Three or four books to read at a time. Bedroom, living room, and of course the car when I was driving the children everywhere. But now not so much. Between the health problems, eye problems and being able to concentrate. It has become very hard.
I love reading.

cheers, parsnip

mansuetude said...

Am finding myself returning to books and discussions of writing, after trying digital and finding i miss the paper, the writing in margins. Etc.

Terry and Linda said...

I do. I have five books going all the time. And then of course there are all the blogs I read!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

I read a lot - autobiographies and biographies, some poetry but almost never fiction. I'm interested in how people lived and thought in their daily lives. I love Ann of Green Gables and anything and everything with Tasha Tudor - I have almost all her books, the illustrations enchant me.

I was not allowed books when I was a child - ever. I could read library books at school and later I could have one book each summer from the public library - my first choice when I was in 6th grade was War and Peace because it was so big. It took me all summer and I had trouble with parts of it - but I made it through.

My children were allowed and encouraged to read and now our grandsons also read all the time - it cheers my soul.

Amy said...

Absolutely! As a child I grew up on Enid Blyton books, the noddy series, famous five, secret seven, lucy atwell books, you name it I read it. even now I'm still a book worm and my two teenagers are bookworms too, not that Im complaining, read is the best thing out for their education. Right now I have 2 books on the go :-)

Kristi in the Western Reserve said...

I'm a reader and was very pleased to "buy" a free copy of your father's favorite book for my Kindle...I read all those Naomi Jacobs books about 10 or fifteen years ago........I never knew anything about the author. So interesting.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Joanne reminded me that I used to read the cereal packets at breakfast - and does anyone else remember when the HP Sauce bottle had the description in French as well as English on the side? It began 'cette sauce est haute qualite' I think - I used to love reading it out! Thanks for calling and letting me know your book habits.

Becca McCallum said...

Definitely a reader! As a child, I stayed with my grandparents on a regular basis, and devoured my grandma's collection of old school stories, about boarding schools and gym slips and lacrosse sticks. And then I went to my OTHER grandparents' house and read the books my uncles had left behind - Biggles and the Alfred Hitchcock Three Investigators series. Now I read 15th century Scots texts on my kindle, the travels of the amazing Isabella Bird, and a healthy dose of YA fic, because that's what I aim to write.