Wednesday, April 20, 2016

on childhood and on comfort

I've loved reading since I was really young - younger than most, I was a toddler when I learnt to read and to love it. Reading has given me so much comfort for many parts of my life and I just wanted to discuss that a little bit today.

I've been through quite a bit - that's something I can be fairly certain about. This started with bullying and progressed to loss and change and family trouble and mental health issues; and I feel like books have held my hand all the way through that.

My best primary school comforts were probably Jacqueline Wilson and Cathy Cassidy. And you may say, weren't everyone's? But I think for me it was different - I read them younger than everyone else, and then when I was being challenged by my teachers with things like Lord of the Rings, and others of similar calibre, they were just books to get back to and to collect and love.

I met Jacqueline Wilson twice through primary - once in year 5, with a friend who ironically later became the bully. I froze up because her family were judging me, and the shop was busy, and to be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if I accidentally came across as rude because of anxiety surrounding it all.  A couple of years later, I went to see a talk in which the first 100 to buy tickets got to meet her, and I had the loveliest little chat about the characters and her being my inspiration.

I also met Cathy Cassidy a couple years ago (again with a friend who no longer is such (*sigh*). Even though by this point I wasn't really reading her stuff, only the last few Chocolate Box Girls, I had wanted to meet her for years and so of course I did. She's one of the nicest people I've ever met, so if you get that opportunity, do it.

Later on, it became Sophie McKenzie. Yet another author that I read too young! But she stuck with me for quite a few years - from about year 4 to year 8. I loved every single one of her books, from her few romance series to the more thrilling ones. The only ones I never read were the Medusa Project books - mainly because the library didn't have them all, and I wouldn't read them out of series!! I met Sophie in 2014, and again, she was SO LOVELY, and I was so awestruck when she already knew me!

In the last two years, there has been no one specific that has held my attachment. John Green, David Levithan and Rainbow Rowell of course have my heart, and I could read Solitaire every single day, in all honesty. Whilst I was in hospital, I read a lot of what could be seen as typical "chick-lit" books - because they were so simple and it was just nice to get away. Everyone knows romance is my guilty book pleasure, anyway.

The point is, with me, is that I love comforting myself with beautiful words, weaved by someone that has sat and written them for me to consume, for me to love every word and for me to smile at the romance and, perhaps rarely, but occasionally shed a tiny tear. I love taking myself elsewhere, away from whatever hardship I may be facing, and I have always loved that a book can do that. People see them as just paper bound by a shiny cover, but it is what is on that paper that can do magic.

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Charli and Tori