Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Joy of Reading

My Mother’s bedside table was always piled high with books, like the walls of a great castle. There was strength in those literary walls, and she certainly obtained a great deal of strength from her literary life. She loved books of all kinds, but in particular poetry. Her favourite author was Thomas Hardy, and from her love for him she developed a love of Wessex. We used to decide what books to buy her based on their weight rather than necessarily the content. At each birthday and Christmas I would scour book shops and the internet to try and find a new take on an old favourite, or a new collection of poetry, or an otherwise hidden literary or historical gem.

When she died earlier this year Dad invited me to take some of her books if I liked. So over the past few months I have brought a handful back each time I have gone to visit him. I have now amassed what is known as the Zena Godwin memorial library. I have tried to take books which I remember as having significance for her, and one day hope to get through them all. There is Betjeman, Hardy, Byron, Woolf, Seamus Heaney, Vera Britain, Tennyson and Brooke to name a few.

Growing up in our house one would often hear or ask the question ‘Where’s mum?’ this would usually be answered with ‘upstairs, reading’. It’s where she went to get away from us I suppose, and to revel in a fantasy world a million miles away from family life in Leamington Spa (Royal).

I'm with her on that one though, as I too have used reading to create a little bit of time out and personal space when sharing a home. And there is nothing worse than the noise of someone else’s TV viewing when all you want is a bit of peace and quiet and time on your own. The bed and the book can therefore be a wonderful refuge, a place of quiet escape.

So I do love reading, and have become a bit like mum with several books piled high on the bedside table. Some I have given up on, some I am reading, some I will come back to, some are good for little bits of dipping into, and some are sitting their enticing me to finish my latest so I quickly move on and start to enjoy them. Some I may never pick up and will move back to the shelves or be given away as presents. I am usually focused on one, but like to keep my options open. You'll see from the pic that I am starting to build my own castle walls and have plenty to choose from.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh, so YOU'VE got them have you - i wanted them books! Bro Joe