My first memory of learning to read was that I loved being read to, but I absolutely detested having to read aloud myself!! I used to cry and go into major tantrums every time my mother forced me to read to her every night. I thought it was very unfair that I was being made to read in the evenings, but never complained when it came to a bed time story! I have blocked out the majority of memories associated with my early reading days - mainly because it was a part of my life that I hated at the time.
How times change!!
The first books that I can remember reading at school were the 'Hat' books - those of Roger Red Hat, Billy Blue Hat and Percy Green. I used to like hearing my mum read them to me but was never too keen on reading them myself! Bedtime stories were very different. Some of my favourites were 'Five Mice and the Moon', 'The Hungry Caterpillar', 'The Tailor of Gloucester' and 'Fantastic Mr Fox'. There were many others but these were the ones I requested again and again.
As a young child, my most favourite book was 'Fantastic Mr Fox' by Roald Dahl. I loved the descriptions of the food in the story - the succulent chicken and the golden cider! Even now I love to flick through the book because it was one that always kept me entertained, and I never tired of the wonderful descriptions in the book. As I progressed through primary school, one of my most vivid memories associated with reading was when I was in year four. This was when my teacher read Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to the class. Because of the wonderful storytelling nature of my teacher, I sometimes imagine the book being told in her voice even now when I read the book again twelve years later!
I am a very eclectic reader - my tastes are somewhat varied!! I still read the Harry Potter books continually - they are books I try and make everyone read at least once because I believe they hold a magical quality within the pages. But recently I have been reading 'The Postmistress' by Sarah Blake, 'Vanishing Acts' by Sarah Picoult, and 'The Long Song' by Andrea Levy. I am currently in the middle of reading two books simultaneously: 'Mein Kampf' by Adolf Hitler, and a book that has recently been published by my now retired History A Level teacher, David Paterson. The book is entitled 'Leeke's Legacy', and is about the vast history of my sixth form college, King Edward VI college in Nuneaton. It is a very interesting read and one that I have personal connections to which draw me even further in.
My degree is in Drama with English, so I have a passion for reading plays: something that not all students of drama agree with! Many prefer to see plays performed, but I believe that plays are still worth being read. Like all literature students, I love the plays of William Shakespeare; especially King Lear and The Merchant of Venice. I also like to read the plays of David Hare and Sarah Kane. I like many classic texts too, especially those of Thomas Hardy; my favourite being 'The Trumpet Major'.
I choose what I want to read based on what I already know, and what other people know. I have wanted to read 'Mein Kampf' for a number of years, because I am fascinated with the history of the Second World War. I read Harry Potter because it reminds me of the excitement of my childhood from when I was nine, to seventeen. Still I love the story and feel a longing at times to reread them over again. But I also read books based on recommendations. If someone tells me they have read something good then I cannot forget about it until I have researched the book to see if it would appeal to me too. But I love all books: history, fantasy, mythical, romance, biography and humour. I have not ventured to try a horror story yet because it is not a genre I'm really interested in. But I will still investigate it if it sounds good!
You could say that my mind is an open book!! :) <3 xx