My first true love was books. As soon as I learnt to read I fell in love with the one on one relationship which comes from being lost in a book. The first time I read a book from cover to cover in one sitting I was 10 years old and it was Roald Dahl’s Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. The page-turning thrill of wanting to know what happened next as I was taken on a fascinating ride through someone else’s world captivated me. There was slight disappointment once reaching the end combined with the satisfaction of conclusion, yet knowingness I’d miss the characters I’d grown fond of. Well, until the next book anyway. I could always read a book again but I have a knack of remembering a book once I’ve read it so only revisit those I truly fall in love with.
Jane Eyre is one of those books I have enjoyed re-reading, over and over. I read it as a teen and empathised with the heroine. She was plain-looking and hard done by in life and I felt I also suffered both while a teen. In hindsight, I wasn’t either. I was just a normal teen struggling with hormones and questioning my life. Most teenagers tend to feel hard done by at that stage of life. I was so enthralled while first reading that book that I could not put it down and was once caught reading it during a business studies class.
The teacher of this class was a stickler when it came to not wasting his time on students whom he felt weren’t interested in learning. If you showed up late or were disruptive he’d ask you to leave his class for the day. As I said, I couldn’t resist escaping into Charlotte Bronte’s masterpiece of literature. Whilst sneaking a quick read in business class a hand suddenly slammed onto the book sitting on top of my desk. Unbeknown to me our teacher had snuck up on me from behind while I was lost in the adventure and dilemma of Jane and the highly mysterious lord of the manor, Rochester.
“Are you studying this book in another class?”, he yelled at me.
“No”, I managed to squeak.
“No? You mean you’re reading this particular book because you want to read it?”
“Yes”. Another squeak from me emerged while waiting for the inevitable “get out of my class”, but it didn’t come. Surprisingly he walked away and sat back down behind his desk not even looking my way as he continued to teach till the end of the class. It seems even a business teacher understood the love of a good book.
Sometimes I’d misplace a book and start to read another, only to end up reading both books intermittently after I found the first. My cousin discovered this trait while we were holidaying together one summer at the beach. Her curiosity wasn’t so much about reading two books at once. It was the diversity of my choice of novels which puzzled her. At the time I was reading Watership Down and a Jackie Collins novel. Maybe it’s the Gemini in me but I would read anything I could get my hands on though I did have my favourite authors. Shakespeare, Stephen King, Dean R Koontz, the Bronte sisters, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allen Poe, Isaac Asimov, Catherine Cookson, Terry Pratchett and so many more authors who I had learnt wouldn’t disappoint.
When I was younger the classics were my top picks but as I grew older my love for biographies emerged. I still have the habit of reading whatever I can get my hands on and I’m rarely disappointed when it comes to reading random authors. Is it because I’m easily pleased or is it due to loving the intimacy that occurs when it’s just me and the various unfolding worlds I enter at the flick of a page? This is not a question I particularly care to answer.