Friday, 24 May 2013

Light My Fire

My Kindle got squashed a couple of months ago. I was saddened, because it was a gift from my family for my 60th birthday, and I think if I had, maybe, not carried it around with me and used it, it might still be with us. 


However ... My ipad and iPhone carry on where the defunct Kindle left off, and I can continue to plump up Amazon's profits with my regular, often impulsive, purchases from the one-click non-stop CloudStore.


I thought I would miss the heaviness of them. The joyful monotony of page-turning. The second-guessing of where I left off reading, from the crease in the spine. The occasional delight of throwing a particularly awful purchase across the room. I said I would. I made airy statements to family and friends vowing that my Kindle would NEVER replace REAL books... . I lied. I am not the paper-snob I thought I was.

Do you remember the first, the very first, book you ever read? Apart from your Infant School's Reading Scream, I mean? (I went 'Through The Rainbow' with 'The Happy Valley Readers', but it WAS the 1950's.) I do. It was a Noddy Book. I read it in hospital, where I taught myself to read, aged three. I was, and probably still am, a very clever bunny. 

Thankfully, Noddy Books were written with a very simple vocabulary, often repeated, and I was not allowed to do anything taxing because I was very very sick, so I picked up the book remembering what had  been read to me, and worked it out. I am convinced that ANY bored three year old with a modicum of intelligence and nothing else to do, could achieve a similar feat. Three-year olds are vastly underestimated, in my opinion. Most are geniuses. 

I digress, I frequently do, usually, as now, because I have no clear idea of where this is going. Pause for a cup of tea. 

My SECOND book was a Ladybird Book. ( Ladybird Books are maybe still around. They were sixpence when I read them: seventy-five pence when I bought them for my daughters...) 'Mick The Disobedient Puppy' a tale that taught me that, to be naughty, it was a good idea to be clever, because then you stood a chance of getting away with it. I frequently did, possibly still do. 

Hurriedly, before I lose my readership completely, returning to the present.

I do not read books sequentially. In pre-Kindle days, I would sit up in bed with a semi-circle of books spaced around me:

A Canticle For Leibowitz
Collected Poetry Of Rupert Brooke
The Times Educational Supplement
Alpine Flowers

I am a bee-reader. I sip nectar from tome to tome. Flighty, inconsistent: Authors really have to work hard to hold my attention. I skip to find out how a story ends, I leave out the boring bits, but I do, eventually finish them. I do persist. Some of you don't. I know this. 

My Kindle library makes book-hopping SO easy, and not QUITE as much fun, I must admit. I quite liked not knowing exactly where I'd got to, and maybe re-reading something by accident. I expect as I grow older and more forgetful, I won't even notice. I'd quite like to read Terry Pratchett's 'The Colour of Magic' again, as if for the first time. 

So now, I'm wallowing in, 'The QI Book of Amazing Facts','The Hollow Something' (Not 'Crown' - that is stretching my, 'I Persist' motto to breaking point) and 'Lanark'. 

My American third-grade students had to write book reports. The most interesting format I set them was a visual one ... Take a large piece of paper and fold the corners to the middle so there are four flaps. On the back write the title, on the outer flaps draw illustrations and under the flaps comment. I am going to do this. I think my Art Studio App could handle it. Or.. Hey! I might even do it USING PAPER. 


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