Friday, August 24, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

This week's Booking Through Thursday (on Friday)
When growing up did your family share your love of books? If so, did one person get you into reading? And, do you have any family-oriented memories with books and reading? (Family trips to bookstore, reading the same book as a sibling or parent, etc.)

I come from a bookish, reading family. My Mum started to teach me to read when I was four. She used to do it while we drove the half hour to kindergarten – being a long term year one teacher she could teach while still (at least I hope) paying attention to the road. I seem to recall my first ‘read’ was about traffic lights changing between red and green. Actually I think ‘red’ and ‘green’ were the only words that featured in the book. By the age of five I was sufficiently proficient to be the narrator for my Pre-Primary musical play ‘The Bluebird’.

My parent’s house is full of books. Mum’s tastes run close to mine. We both like, as my Nanna would say, “a good clean murder”. Apart from that, it was my Mum who introduced me to Georgette Heyer’s writing – whose regency stories occupied a good deal of my time the summer I turned 16. When I was young Mum and I were hardened book scouts; leaving no garage sale, fair, church fete etc untouched. This habit helped fuel my youthful penchant for 1950s and 1960s boarding school stories. Woe was me that I only went to school as a daygirl.

My father is the academic type. His book collection starts in his study and extends to the garage where books are stacked three deep in metal shelving. As a side note, we actually lost my poor kitten, Sandy, in these shelves for about 2 days when I was six. We discovered him only after hearing a pitiful ‘meow’; he was firmly wedged between books and the shelf above. Dad favours fantasy and science fiction novels, but for non-fiction has every genre imaginable. I guess the bulk of his collection are chemistry books, his specialisation, but he even has the books of the bible in Ancient Greek; having decided in his early twenties he was going to learn the language! My favourite ‘book memory’ of my Dad is when I was about nine and he bought me two Arthur Ransome books I had wanted for so long. The reason: I had patiently waited while he spent hours in A&M books, a school resource shop, selecting textbooks for the new school year!

I can’t finish this post without mentioning my Grandparents. I admit I was an indulged only grandchild. My Grandparents used to pick me up from primary school on a Friday afternoon and, while I was young enough, Nanna always had a Babysitter’s Little Sister for me to read on the way home. That was, until she realised I could read them in approximately ten minutes. We moved on then. Nanna used to read to me whenever I slept over (at least every Friday night). I recall her reading me, inter alia, The Secret Garden, The Little Princess and Ballet Shoes. She also introduced me to Dickens with tales from an abridged version for children her father had won as a prize at Dunfermline High School, near Edinburgh, in the early 1900s. Another memory is when I read Swiss Family Robinson, became obsessed and decided I was going to build a model of their house. Granddad helped out by constructing ladders out of brown plastic garden lattice!

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