I’m on a roll as I begin to add books to my ‘Goodreads’ bookshelf: I realize the enormously long and important journey that has been reading in my life. As a young child my mother would read to me-feeding my already overly active imagination-taking me on a journey into a fantasy world, so much more exciting than reality.
Reality eventually hit-as it invariably does-at the beginning of puberty; the likes of ‘Judy Blume’ became my new outlet, to share the worries and hang ups of adolescents the world over. It was however, the move to Spain at the hideous age of thirteen that really triggered the most change: Leaving behind friends and stability to embark on an adventure that would be extremely difficult and exceptionally lonely and where at times, books would become my only friends. I devoured every book I could get my hands on in a bid to distract myself from my isolation- a stranger in a strange land where I did not speak the language and where I was to become at times cripplingly shy: Thank God for the amazing array of stories that both distracted and delighted me. Looking back I realize how fortunate I was to have access to such a broad variety of literature; this was predominantly down to having inherited an incredible selection of books from my father’s famous ex- boss: And so I began to read everything from the likes of Kafka to Jeffrey Archer, DH Lawrence to Wilbur Smith, the list was endless. I would get through a book a day in some of the most difficult moments.
There were some that evidently had more of a profound effect than others-one of those I remember being, ‘The killing fields’ a book about the Khmer Rouge regime under pol pot in Cambodia; I was deeply moved by the story as well as developing a huge respect for journalists, particularly the foreign correspondents who risked their lives in these horrendous war torn areas of the world-indeed at one point I was sure that was to be my own path though alas, or maybe for the best, that was not to be.
I became addicted to reading-something I’m eternally grateful for: How to describe the feeling of being left almost bereft after finishing a book that so captivated you, immersed you in a parallel universe…from my young days of Enid Blyton and Cs Lewis to that modern tale of war torn Cambodia, each and every one has inspired me in some form or another.
I can only hope that through my own writing I will leave at least one reader as gripped and immersed in my own stories as I have been with others-let us lose ourselves in the pleasure that is reading.