23 Jul 2008

The love of books

From an early age, I loved reading. My first memories of reading were when my father came home from work, he'd sit in a hammock with the newspapers and me on his lap, and I couldn't wait till he got to the comics section. He'd read aloud to me and point out the words. Even though I couldn't grasp the 'funnies', I picked up the words with the help of his pointing finger and began to recognise letters and words. It helped too that at the time, mom ran a small pre-school at home, so I had these letters and words and wall alphabet around to remind me. I still recall fondly though some tales she told me of her students saying things like "C-A-T = puss".

By the time I got round to primary school the staple book for beginners was the 'Janet & John' series especially Here we go. Needless to say, I soon outstripped that, went through a whole slew of Ladybird books and moved up to the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew books by the time I was in Standard 3 (I skipped Standards 2 and 4). That made me the youngest child in my class all the way to A levels.

By the time I wrote Common Entrance (11+) at age 10, I was reading Robert Ludlum, Louis L'Amour, Zane Grey. Hammond Innes, Agatha Christie, etc. I'd been through most of the Enid Blyton books as well (she still remains one of my favourite authors, go figure). During my teen years at high school, I read several religious books from a few different religions, books I revisit from time to time. I do have a laugh at some now, I must admit.

Now that I am getting older, I recently was a bit surprised to find my tastes in reading has changed quite a bit. I recently read two Agatha Christie (Ms Marple) mysteries  and found them to be quite boring. I lost my enthusiasm for Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour a long time ago; same for Ngaio Marsh, J T Edson etc.

However, I recently was able to obtain collections of Biggles, James Herriot, Ian Fleming (though I've never been a fan; Bond in books is rather an annoying character and worse in movies - with the exception of Casino Royale), and A J Cronin. At present I am reading James Herriot. John Grisham, and Jeffery Archer are still interesting, despite my changing tastes. Archer's new book is a splendid read, being a collection of short stories about colourful characters he met while imprisoned. Bill Bryson though is a good read, and so is Michael Moore and Richard Dawkins. Stephen Hawking is always enlightening, Dale Carnegie is inspiring, and Robert Kiyosaki's Rich Dad, Poor Dad is an absolute must for every one.

Sadly though, I have little time for reading, and once where I would read up to 10 books per week, I am now struggling to finish one a month. Textbooks and tutorials take up much time.

I've been encouraged lately to do some courses in law, as well as my IT degree. I'll see how that goes, law and medicine have always been fascinating to me. Can't say I'd want to practice either though, I just think they're bloody well interesting. Let's see what the Open University can offer.