Books have been a constant in my life. I can’t remember a time when I haven’t had books in my life. I remember lying sick in bed when I was five or six reading a Skippy book. Another time having a sneaky read of adult horror stories mum had borrowed from the library, but she had deemed me too young to read…..She was right, those books weren’t suitable for an eleven year old…but I survived. My pre-teen years consisted of cheesy horror stories and anything else I could get my hands on. My taste was developing and I was exploring as many genres as I could. Fairly soon afterwards I discovered Edgar Allen Poe….The Black Cat….The Pendulum, The Squaw. I’d read these stories in Vampirella comics and was overjoyed to find the written versions….My interest in comics began to wane…..as the bookish worlds of horror, science fiction and fantasy opened their doors to me.
I was demolishing books at a great rate….which created some problems as my family was living in the middle of nowhere in a town with a library of a hundred books or so…….a four day drive from the city…..and the towns in between were even smaller than the one we lived in. What was a bookworm to do? The only solution was to re-read the books I loved. So I delved into the worlds created by Edgar Allen Poe, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein, Frank Herbert, H.P. Lovecraft and others of their ilk.
The years flew by in a blur of reading….DS was born and as soon afterwards I began reading out loud to him….with the appropriate voices of course. He grew to love books and reads to this day…..regularly borrowing from me still. The Missus, DS and I enjoy some of the same books and many discussions have ensued from this shared interest over the years. I introduced him to classics such as Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Animal Farm, Brave New World and the fantasy world of Lord of the Rings.
When Lord of the Rings movies were popular, I’d get strange looks when I mentioned something from the books….It was almost as if they were thinking “She READ the books!?!?!?!?!”. A faux paux…a peek into the real life version of Fahrenheit 451.
There were four years which were a blur of study while I earned two university degrees….lots of reading….but none for pleasure….who has the time or inclination to read for pleasure, studying full time and bringing up a child as a single parent? The books stayed with me, patiently sitting on the shelves, softly whispering their alluring stories, knowing that one day I’d be ready to read them again.
Working and living alone in a small country town away from everyone and everything I loved left lots of time to read. Lestat was a kitten then and I’d often sit with a small, fuzzy ball of love on my lap reading….immersed in the inner world of my imagination.
Then joy of joys! I met another bookworm who could talk sci-fi. As I got to know her, our love grew and she moved interstate….with her books so we could be together. We now had two wonderful book collections bursting from bookcases, shelves, cupboards and anywhere else we could squeeze them. Our books accompanied us over quite a few moves including the long dreamed of trip back home to Perth, where they now reside in and on top of three book cases. We have books which are like family to us….those are the ones we read over and over, that we wouldn’t part with….and the ones that stay with us for a short while and find their way to new, maybe permanent homes through second hand book shops.
I’ve been laid up this week with a dose of the flu….told by the doctor to rest. So I spent Monday and Tuesday on the settee sleeping, turning pages of my craft books and looking at the pictures. By Wednesday I wasn’t sleeping as much, but lost in Ray Bradbury’s dark world of Something Wicked This Way Comes…Thursday was his The Illustrated Man. His descriptive writing has me turning to see what I just missed in the periphery of my vision…was there something there or was it a slight delirium caused by the flu and my vivid imagination?
The Missus is a sci-fi movie buff. She has a decent collection. It has been a standing joke with us that for many of the movies she has collected or seen, I will say “I’ve not seen the movie, but I’ve read the book.”
I was talking with Mum on the phone yesterday and I mentioned The Missus had given me Something Wicked This Way Comes. Mum had borrowed it recently from her local library and she wondered if I had read it….Books are like threads in our family web.
I’ve dived into the strange world of Ubik by Philip K. Dick. This was a man who had an incredible imagination. His name may not be familiar to you, but some of his stories probably are….Blade Runner, A Scanner Darkly, Total Recall, Minority Report, Screamers, Paycheck….all movies based on his books. None of them advertised as science fiction….but as thrillers or suspense. Science fiction is still seen as being geeky, so must be dressed up as something different.
I haven’t chosen which world I will visit next. It might be on Earth in the near future, maybe back in Gothic times or another world entirely. Wherever it is I know I will be next to the hero or heroine battling alongside them….spending some time in the world of my imagination.