Thursday, March 01, 2007

A Bookish Day

Today is World Book Day and as one of my greatest passions is reading I thought I’d think about what books I have enjoyed over the years. I’ve always loved books; there were always books around the house when I was growing up. I also remember going to the library with Mum and choosing books to bring home to read. Sometimes we would go to the library in the nearest town but we also used to have a mobile library come to the village probably once a month. On rainy days I used to play libraries on the table with Mum’s books, a shoe box of cut up bits of paper as library tickets and a hot water bottle top as a date stamp. Those were the days.

I remember devouring Enid Blyton’s Famous Five and Secret Seven books. I loved Little Women and What Katy Did, also The Secret Garden, The Borrowers, The Wind in the Willows and a series of books about sisters who became ballet dancers and went to boarding school – I can’t remember what they were called though. I adored Children of the New Forest and Gamble for a Throne because I was fascinated with the English Civil War and Cavaliers and Roundheads. In my first year at grammar school we read Tiger in the Smoke. In the second year we did Jane Eyre and I came top of the class in English much to my and everyone else’s surprise. In the third year we read A Tale of Two Cities and I fell for Sydney Carton – what a wonderful literary character.

One day, when I was about fourteen, I was at home alone, feeling bored and I picked up a book from Mum’s bookcase and began to read, and read, and read; I just couldn’t put the book down. It was a wartime utility copy of Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer – I was completely hooked and from then on I read every single one of her books, I just loved them. From there I moved on to other historical novels by writers like Jean Plaidy, Anya Seaton, Margaret Irwin and the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L Sayers. In between then and now I have, of course read too many books to mention; I have many, many favourites including To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolf, North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell and the wonderful A Month in the Country by J L Carr. Today, I read mostly murder mysteries by authors like Reginald Hill, Stephen Booth, Ian Rankin, Susan Hill, P D James,Val McDermid and Priscilla Masters. I particularly love Stephen Booth and Priscilla Masters because they write about places I know – The Peak District, North Staffordshire and Shropshire. They are my comfort zone. I also enjoy reading Robert Goddard’s thrillers, Alexander McCall Smith’s novels set in Edinburgh and any book by Joanne Harris or Joanna Trollope.

So today, on World Book Day, what am I reading? I have nearly finished one of Andrew Taylor’s atmospheric detective novels set in the 1950s and have to choose now between a booked loaned to me by a good friend – Rosehill, Portraits of a Midlands City by Carol Lake or The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld – the choice of the on-line reading group I’ve recently joined. Oh, choices, choices, and I haven’t even touched upon my love of book shops – especially if they have a coffee shop and lovely squishy, comfy leather chairs for browsing and reading purposes. Absolute joy.

Oh, and today is also St. David's Day and 'Tommy Comes Home' day – we collect him at five o’clock - I'll keep you posted.


  1. Happy Book Day, dear Rosie! Welcome home, Tommy boy and read him the Velvet Rabbit!

  2. thanks, sissy - did you read one of your new gardening books on world book day? I don't know The Velvet Rabbit - perhaps he'd like Peter Rabbit instead:)Take care.