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Saturday, December 07, 2013

Lucy Ellis: I'm a bookaholic


Thanks to Lee for inviting me to post.

Like most of you reading this, I'm a bookaholic.  If it's got print, I will read it.

I was three years old when those squiggly lines on a page began to make sense and I didn't look back.  I can remember as a young girl being depressed at the realisation no matter how long I lived I couldn't possibly read every book ever written.

We all have a childhood book that made a resounding impression.  For me, and generations of little girls, it was Anne of Green Gables.  My mother gave it to me when I was six and I read it, and fell in love - not only with Anne Shirley, but the whole - to me - fairytale world of Prince Edward Island and the end of the Victorian era.

I often wonder what my life would have been if my mother hadn't given me that book at that particular moment in time.  She was holding onto it until I was older, but I'd come home crying because the neighbour's children wouldn't play with me.  She gave me this treasure - a playmate in the form of a book, and so it has been ever since.


Books are where I go when I'm bored, when I'm tired, when my mind is racing at midnight and I know I need something to slow it down.  Books are my joy, my comfort, my window into other worlds.  They partner me when I eat alone at restaurants, they come with me on long, rambling walks as I recount favourite stories in my head.  They are the place I go when my soul has been carved out of me and there is no feeling left.  They revivify and reconstitute as nothing else can.


Those voices, for me at the top of the pile:  Byron, Tolstoy, Eliot, James, Colette, Woolf, Akhmatova, Faulkner, Byatt, Mantel, Makine, Toibin (feel free to add your own) show you the world and your place in it as not even the wisest friend can.  They are there for you at one a.m. in the morning when you are awake and your family and friends sleep, they are speaking to you on a train, at a bus stop, sitting on a winter's beach or curled in a favourite chair in your house.  All of these wonderful, capacious, sharp, insightful minds telling you a story that connects you across time to what it means to be human, making you feel less alone.

Share with me, if you would, the books that made the biggest impact on your life, the books that rescued you, the books that led you astray, the books you couldn't live without.  I have a couple of my own little books to give away - they won't change your life or rescue you from disaster, but they will pass the time for a couple of hours and hopefully make you smile.

A hug, 
Lucy


7 comments:

Laney4 said...

I really got into the "Noddy" books as a youngster - so much so that many years later, I found one at a yard sale and scooped it up ("Noddy Goes to Toyland"). Have enjoyed reading and re-reading this book through the years and hope to "scoop up" more. Enid Blyton was quite a writer (and "Beek" was quite an illustrator)!!!

petite said...

I loved your post today which resonated with me. My mother took me to the public library and the very first books that I borrowed were the entire Anne of Green Gables series in hardcover. I read everyone, savored every word, loved the story, the characters and lived in Montreal at the time. We journeyed to P.E.I. for a vacation.

traveler said...

Books have been my solace, my sole form of entertainment, my entire world at times when I was sick and recovering from breast cancer last year and now from hand surgery. They transport me to another place, era and realm. They allow me to dream and are soothing. When I discovered books they made my world complete. I enjoyed all of Daphne DuMaurier's novel, and appreciated mysteries and classics from so many authors. Wishing you the best of health, happiness and enjoyment.

Kaelee said...

In grade two my teacher read us the Happy Hollisters and I just loved them. She had a small library of her own books that she would lend out to her pupils. I read all of her Cherry Ames books. The Grade 3 teacher introduced me to L. M. Mongomery and I own copies of all her books. Grade 5's book is Girl of the Limberlost which I just loved at the time. Many years later I found a copy in a used book store but I was not impressed by the book.

I love Jane Austin, Mazo de la Roche, Georgette Heyer, C S Forrester (I loved Horatio Hornblower), Agatha Christie, Marion Chesney, and tons of Harlequin writers.

Reading allows me to escape from the world. I would be so lost if I didn't have books to read.

Mary Preston said...

I read & re-read all of Enid Blyton's books so many times as a child. I came to believe that magic is possible & that adventures await.

Lucy Ellis said...

Laney4 and Mary, I sighed at Enid Blyton, I still feel nostalgic when I see her books.

Petite - I read them in hardcover too, my dream as a girl was to visit PEI, how lucky were you!

traveler - as you say, reading is invaluable when you're ill and/or going through difficult times. DuMaurier is definitely a comfort read for me... Rebecca especially.

Kaelee - I'd forgotten Cherry Ames! and Agatha Christie is at the top of my comfort reads & I do love those Hornblower books.

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