Alberto Manguel has written a very interesting book about reading, A History of Reading. I've had the book in my shelves for years, but it was only yesterday I started to read it. I had been visited this wonderful blog, and inspired by all the colourful cross stiched samplers there I started to look around in my own livingroom - a wall with samplers/letters cross stiched on linen, other walls filled with books, books filled with letters. But so much more than that. Letters telling stories of life. Stories of life reflecting my own lifestories, lived and dreamed.
A History of Reading is filled with information about how reading has and is affecting our lives. From the very first letters/signs written in stone or painted on walls, till what reading means today. And it is filled with informantion about what reading has meant for the writer. A book like this captures me totally. I'm glad it's Sunday!
I learned to read when I was 5. I don't think anybody taught me the art actually. Suddenly one day I knew the meaning of the letters, I knew how to read them and I knew how to write them. A new world opened. My parents and grandparents had read me stories untill then, and they kept on doing so. But now I was also able to read books myself. I have a collection of my first books at our cabin, and just by thinking of them I can still feel the texture of the paper they are printed on, I can smell them, I can remember their stories. I can remember myself as a girl, captured by them.
Reading soon became a passion, a passion which has followed me for 45 years now. I have three younger brothers, one of them only 22 months younger than me. As soon as I discovered reading I knew that this was something I had to teach him. I wanted to show him this wonderful world. I had to be patient, he was busy with so many other things. Reading didn't attrackt him. But I was a stubborn and determined teacher. There are pencil marks in all my first books, marks to show how far I made my brother read every day. In the beginning just one or two words, then the pencil marked a ), but as the days went on he managed more words.
My brother grew up to become passionate about books. These days may be even more than me.....
In our neighbourhood there lived an old couple (well, at least we looked upon them as old). They had no children, but they were booklovers. And in their basement they had a room completely filled with young adult books. Series with cowboy&indian books, The Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew....and alot of others which I don't know the English titles of. The old couple understood the thirst for books in me and my brother, and they opened their home for us. We came there at least once a week and could borrow as many books as we wanted. It was heaven, and I am forever thankful for their hospitality. And for their understanding.
I have tried to pass on my love for books to my four kids. Since they were toddlers I've read aloud for them, and their book collection grew, and are still growing steadily. Only one of them has become passionate. Torgeir, our student in Australia. But it seems like Marta is on her good way. From time to time you can meet her walking down the stairs from the first floor, stumbling, with her eyes deep in a book.
I plan to share more reading stories, but meanwhile I'd love to hear some of yours!
I am still reading The Wings of the Dove. Meanwhile I have a guide book to recommend this week, Venice, Art & Architecture by Marion Kaminski. Unfortunately the books is a bit too heavy to have in the backpack while walking Venice. But it is a tresure chest, filled with history, art, photos, paintings and much, much more. I can dream myself into La Serenissima for hours through this book.