I have ALWAYS loved books. But Ive not read anything in a while. I havent picked up a novel in over 2 months, and for a while before that I was finding it increasingly difficult to find the time to get lost in a good book. When I wrote my day zero list of things to do, I hadnt finished a book in so long I couldnt remember, and so one of my tasks became to read at least 50 books in the next 1001 days.
When I became a mother, I would trawl bootsales with my baby son, spending many an hour picking out unbelievable bargains and new found, unheard of yet enticing reads. But since then, I havent had use of a car, there’s been no-one to ferry me to these wonderful places and try finding a bus to take you to a field or random huge car park at 7am on a Sunday morning. I now source most of my books from Ebay and Amazon when I have spare funds. I sometimes venture into a bookshop and spend a while searching shelves and leafing through my finds, but I never buy anything, I simply cant afford to.
When I was a child, we didnt have a television in the house, which is how I came to love to read so much. But my mum wouldnt allow us to be members of the local library, most probably for fear that we would lose or deface the books, leaving her to pay the bill. I spent many a full day of my summer holidays in various corners of local libraries immersed in a good book or a few. We weren’t allowed to take any home, so we would stay there to read them, and the staff soon became very familiar with us. But temptation was too much. I am ashamed to admit that I stole a few books from those libraries. Looking back, I can see the librarians must have known, but at the time, I thought I was being very discreet.
When J started showing an interest in books, I would take him along to storytimes at one of those libraries. This was a big step, the same librarians work there, and they give me looks as if to say “you thought we didnt know, but yes we did”. It took courage to apply for my son to be a member of the library. I love sitting on the beanbags with him while he picks out new and exciting reads for us to explore together, choosing a select few to take home. But I dont think I have the courage to apply for myself. I would love to, but I do feel guilty. My mum did eventually grant us permission to become members and legally take home books, and though I still have a few unreturned books from when growing up started to take over my love of reading, I have been told all I have to do is pay for those few books and I can resume my membership. But everytime I go in there, I feel them watching me and I feel awful.
I always return J’s books late and have to pay fines. They do make a small fortune from my forgetfulness, but I owe so much more.
Its going to be a while before I can pluck up the courage to become a regular member without feeling too guilty. If Im going to succeed in reading 50 books, I will have to eventually, but for now I still have a few unread from my bootsale-ing days. Now J is at preschool, I have a couple of hours a day to myself and amongst other things, I plan to rediscover the magic of settling down with a good read and forgetting everything else.
Oh how I wish I had a cosy little reading corner like this…