Tuesday, December 08, 2009
In an interview that I listened to on the Internet yesterday C. D Wright said that as a child she "ate" books. This was something that I really related to - as a child I ate books too. From the moment I could read I had an insatiable appetite for books - an empty gnawing hole that was never quite filled. I started with Dr Seuss and then I read my way steadily through the children's section in our local small-town library and when I had finished with that I started right on in on the adult section. I would eagerly await our rare trips to nearby Norwich on the Saturday coach and once there would be itchy and fidgety until we got to what for me was the goal of the trip - The Scientific Anglian secondhand book shop. Once there I could spend happy hours grazing the shelves in search of an Enid Blyton or two to add to my collection - the prices lovingly inked in little hand drawn squares on the paper covers. My only problem was how to choose - there were so many! At birthdays and Christmas any coveted money would immediately wing its way to the local book shop (until I discovered music!). I would spend pocket money wisely eking it out between the jumble sale book table and the second hand book stall on the Saturday market. Then there was the grammar school library - on the whole conservative, but I did manage to unearth a gem or two in my lunchtime rummagings. There were also the parental bookshelves of course: novels mostly belonging to mum - an odd assortment of sci-fi, poetry, horror and Australian outback detective stories. And later on to Shrubb Farm on its communal shelves an extensive library of literary gems culled from the 1960s and 70s: "The Family", "Drop City", "The Grateful Dead" plus other tasty nuggets for enquiring minds such as Carlos Castaneda and Aldous Huxley. It was a young readers dream. To this day my eyes just can't stop reading. I am constantly getting rid of books; selling them, taking them to the charity shop, giving them away, yet my shelves are overflowing and there are piles on the floor. The main problem is having time to read them all. There's so many ideas in the world - philosophies, novels, poems, travelogues, writing guides, autobiographies...I pick them up all the time in charity shops, second hand book stores, in sales, as presents - my appetite is insatiable - I am always wanting more.