Last night I had the most wonderful conversation with my housemate about books. We were sharing our latest literary purchases and comparing reviews of the books we’ve recently read when the conversation turned to our favourite memories of books. It struck me how many fond memories I have that centre around books and how the mere mention of a certain title will rouse situations long past and bring a smile to my face. Having recently read Fahrenheit 451, the core message of the book really made me think: are people losing books as an essential part of their lives? Are people really starting to think of books as an archaic medium, or as a colleague of mine described them ‘terribly analog’?
I want to share with you some of my favourite literary memories to show how important books have been in my life and hopefully remind you of a long forgotten memory where books have played a key part. Please do share your memories with me in the comments as I’d love to read them!
1) Sitting in a tent on the last day of Download Festival in 2007 with torrential rain outside and not much else to do, I turned to the book I’d brought with me, ‘You’re Wearing That?! Understanding Mothers and Daughters in Conversation’ by Deborah Tannen. With nothing else to do, my friends lay down and rested their head on my knees and listened to me read out loud to them for half an hour until it was time to pack up the tent and go home.
2) Joining in on my little sister’s reading time, aged 9, as my parents read her Dudley Dun, a cardboard book about a small train that chugged along making the noise ‘dud-a-le-dun, dud-a-le-dun’. We’d all make the train noise together and my sister would chew on the book until it eventually disintegrated through sheer love.
3) Visiting my uncle and being gifted a book (‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde) purely because he thought (rightly so) that I would love it. The note he included in it is still my bookmark to remind me to share books with those I think will appreciate them.
4) Meeting Audrey Niffenegger and getting my copy of ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ signed. When she took it in her hands, she turned it around and said, “Wow, this is certainly well-loved. I love seeing my books like this.”
5) Reading ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in the back of my parents car, aged 16, on the way back from my grandparents house and crying at how amazing it is. I tried in vain to try and explain the complexities of its story and the depth of its background to get them to understand just how much it had affected me, but I just couldn’t put it into words, so I just started to re-read it instead.
6) Listening to my boyfriend read excerpts of whatever random book he’s plucked from the shelves of our holiday cottage. This happens pretty much every time we go away and I love that he can always find something to read that he gets engrossed in wherever we are.
7) Taking a book to my teacher, aged 10, to show her this wonderful new story that I’d fallen in love with. Her name was Miss McCarthy and she had huge, flaming red hair and wore a lot of plaid dresses. She let me read her the whole blurb on the back and it was some unknown book about some boy wizard. I think his name was Harry and he had a big stone belonging to a philosopher…
You can see what I’m currently reading on Goodreads here.