I had an interesting experience yesterday. I was doing some promotion for my three ebooks. Many writers seem to see this as a necessary evil, but I actually quite enjoy it. You surf the web and find sites that promote indie and self-published authors and you join sites and comment on forums and you meet lots of interesting people.
I found this cool site (I was following a list posted on Good Reads of sites to go to) called Book Blogs. I have put it on my Blog roll and I really recommend you have a look. There are some interesting forums and people review books, read books, blog about books. I found one blog that has the coolest virtual dog to play with, could have thrown it a bone and a ball and treats ALL day. Anyway, as usual, I digress. When I signed up for this site it asked me to list my favourite book.
I took a long time to think about this. What is my short list? What books have I loved since I was kid, for years, for the last few months. When I was a kid I loved Paddington Bear, Swallows and Amazons and the Biggles books. I remember having a ferocious argument with a librarian when I was about 13 because the school library didn’t stock Biggles books. My Dad was a fighter pilot, I was given Biggles as soon as I could read.
I was a precocious reader. I had health issues and I had to be physically inactive, so I was reading fairly advanced books when I was about five. When I was seven I was assessed with the reading and comprehension age of a seventeen year old. I think I was about ten when Dad gave me a leather-bound set of Austen and I discovered ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Still one of my absolute favourites. But the TV stuff and the adaptations have slightly distorted my relationship with dear old Jane.
I also love ‘The English Patient’ but some parts of it more than other bits. And I grew up reading Ian Flemming, always loved the books more than the films. The literary Bond is a much harder man than the cinematic Bond ever was, although Daniel Craig is closer to him. I enjoy Elizabeth George and P.D. James and Caroline Graham and Colin Dexter and Dick Francis.
And I have fallen in love with some series along the way. I particularly remember a four novel wartime family saga by Elizabeth Jane Howard that I devoured. Ellis Peters and the Cadfael books were fantastic and I read them so quickly, have re-read many of them several times. Bernard Cornwell wrote a series of Arthurian legend books and there was a description of men on horseback riding through a maze that was on fire and it has stayed with me for years…yes, those books are very close to my favourites.
But if I had to choose one, and it appeared I did, then I settled on “The Pillars of the Earth.” I love the way Ken Follett writes and I love medieval England and I adore stone cathedrals. So it wins by a nose from hundreds of others.
I love the feel of books in my hand but I also love listening to audio books and over the years I have driven thousands of kilometers whilst listening to a gripping book. I never find it distracting but I know others who can’t do it that way. Now I have discovered ebooks and find a whole new world of reading on my Kindle Cloud. I have recently watched as reading has ‘clicked’ for five-year old Lucas, he recognises the words now and he understands how to follow sentences. Such a world of wonder awaits him, he can go places in his mind that his body will never take him. I do believe that there are few gifts we can give another human being as important as the gift of reading.