How can a book be ‘just’ a book?

This is the line that jumped out at me from a blog written by a winner. A child winner. A winner of a National competition. You can read his blog post here. Please do.  He is that rarity of rarities – a boy bookworm. A boy who has not lost a love for reading. He has won lots of books and he is delighted.

He entered a competition at school, won that and went on to win his age category nationally.  He got to go to London to collect his prize. He got to write a blog post. He talks very clearly about how books have helped him to cope with being an Army kid, how he uses books to escape.

I used to do that when I was little. When my life as a kid was rubbish I could be found with a book in my hand, when my life as an adult was rubbish I could be found with a book in my hand. I have been known to read all night and stay up the next day. I once bought some books to tide me through a hospital visit. I had read them before I went in!

My children knew that if I had a book in my hand then they might as well go do something else, I wasn’t playing! My husband hates it when I go into a book shop. I used to love reading stories to my children. I remember one time reading The Sheep Pig by Michael Morpurgo out loud to the boys. They were having a couple of chapters a night before they went to sleep. I was sat on the floor outside their bedrooms (they used their imaginations while I was reading) and my husband was decorating the bathroom.
I finished the two chapters, the boys were asleep, and then there was this plaintive voice from the bathroom……

“Don’t stop! I was enjoying that!”   so, I carried on.

My children, to my distress, despite my hard work and efforts, don’t read for pleasure. Perhaps it is because they have had to read so much for school and for their degrees. The youngest certainly has an awful lot of reading to do. I hope that they come back to reading. My current read is the George R R Martin books that inspired the Game of Thrones series. I like any book, like Alex I used to read the cereal packets, the labels, the matchboxes. I have bought books and passed them on to others. I cannot remember all the books I have read, but I have two books that I will never get rid of.  One is a set of Shakespeare – bought for me by my father on my 18th birthday. From Menzies – remember them? They weren’t expensive, but they mean a lot. The other is a Bible. My father in law found it at a tip and brought it home. It belonged to someone in the forces, during the war. There are a lot of 4 leaf clovers in its pages. A couple of prayer cards and a long purple ribbon. I like to think it brought some-one comfort during the days of war and perhaps afterwards. I think my favourite book ever is Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, it took me through my parents divorce. I read it over and over again.

I remember hearing that every home should have at least three books. A Bible, an Atlas and a Dictionary. In these days of the Internet they perhaps aren’t needed now, but I much prefer the comfort of turning the pages, of losing myself in a story, or a factual book, of using my imagination. That is why I don’t go to the cinema to watch films of books I have read. They never match up to my expectations or perhaps rather my imaginations.

So what do you prefer? a book or a Kindle? A book or the film version? Do you like to buy your books and keep them or pass them on? What is your favourite book? I would love to hear your views, and well done Alex. Carry on Reading!!

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