It is as clear to me as if it was yesterday. The thrill of learning how to read. The wonder I felt when those words in the Dr. Seuss books flowed together and made funny, funky rhyming sounds in my head. Once I mastered the ABC's I was hooked and soon moved on to devouring whatever the country school library had to offer. So off I went on every adventure with Nancy Drew and then overseas for a wild ride with the Black Stallion on a deserted island. I have a few favourites from childhood: "When Marnie Was There" sticks in my head and I'm still looking for that book. "White Summer" was a story about a young girl who moves to the country - I read that one a few times. When I was about 8 or 9 my father would sit the 4 of us down in a circle (my two other sisters and one brother) and read Lord of the Rings to us. I re-read them when I was a teenager and then again in my 30s. In fact in my lifetime we have had one cat named Gandalf and two cats named Frodo! I still have a love for a good fantasy filled with mythical creatures and faeries, dwarves and magic in the woods.
But the days of having the time to read, read, read for hours and hours and hours seem to be as elusive as Tinker Bell as we get older - except in the summer, when I'm on holidays. Let the summer reading begin.
I'm all for self-help and books to increase my knowledge or encourage spiritual growth but in the summer bring on the pure enjoyment of a good story. I want to find myself immersed in a magical land where characters and creatures of all kinds invade my life until I look up and find I'm actually in a tent with sunlight flickering on the nylon or in a car speeding down a highway. I love classics too, like Jane Austen and C.S. Lewis, George Eliot or Wilkie Collins.
I wish you all a warm sunny summer (especially if you live in a climate where winter pervades half the year), and lots of time to read. Stretch out in a hammock, lie down on a damp, sandy towel on the beach or let someone else do the driving and read the hours away! Read what you like but my personal suggestion is leave the indepth, self-help, how-to books for another time and immerse yourself in a tale filled with mystery, and magic, wonder and excitement.