Seeing as I reviewed Tim Atkinson’s new book, Fatherhood: The Essential Guide earlier this week and had to go to Reading with work yesterday – well, according to the lettering on the side of the Madejski Stadium where the conference I was attending was held, I was in fact in “eading” – I thought I’d write about books today.
I have to confess that I’d pretty much lost touch with reading for pleasure until recently. I spend most of my working day writing and proofreading, so burying my head in a book isn’t usually my first thought when I get some precious free time. If I’m honest I’ve never been a prolific reader, which I suppose is kind of strange as I chose English Literature as a degree.
That’s not to say there haven’t been things that I’ve enjoyed though. I loved Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series and the Lucifer Box novels by Mark Gatiss while what I’ve read of Jasper Fforde’s stuff has left me wanting to carry on. It’s just a question of finding that rarest of moments when I have both the time and the inclination.
It’s logical that a traumatic experience can put you off something and I know exactly what it was that callously robbed me of my enthusiasm for books: Wuthering Heights. I had to read it at school and, as if once wasn’t enough torment, I had to go through it again at university. My opinion didn’t change.
All the characters were wet apart from Heathcliff who was just a big git. I just couldn’t see what all the fuss was about or why he was perceived as a romantic hero – he hangs his wife’s dog for goodness sake! I’ve always liked wordplay, lyrics and good storylines, but this had none of those things. Why Kate Bush felt compelled to write a song inspired by this shameless waste of paper is beyond me.
All of this makes me sound like a complete philistine, but here comes the positive twist. Dylan’s continuing development and subsequent fascination with baby books seem to have started to rub off on me.
Since he started to show an interest in them, I have read several complete books. Yes, I know they’re not particularly long, but I’ll take that. One called That’s not my bunny… and a similar offering entitled That’s not my train… have been my favourites and we enjoy reading them together. Suddenly I’m looking forward to reading him all the wonderful titles I enjoyed so much as a child and am even reading more material for grown ups.
I enjoyed Tim’s book obviously and have a reading list composing itself in my head. I am also currently enjoying Pride and Prejudice and Zombies – now that’s the way to get me interested in a classic!