**spoiler alert** This piece contains a reference to something that happens in the book ‘Anne of Green Gables’ by L M Montgomery. If you haven’t read it yet and you don’t want your enjoyment spoiled, look away now!
Today is World Book Day. It’s a day to celebrate authors, illustrators, books and, most importantly, reading. It happens every year and it’s great!
I love books. I read every night before I settle down to sleep; I read to my daughter before she goes to sleep. I read books to gain knowledge and learn how to do new things. I reach for a book whenever I have ‘down time’. Over the years I must have read literally 1000s of books, from the most amazing, life-changing books to fun and frivolous ones and ones that are just ok. I have from time to time read books that are so bad that I can’t even finish them, but it does have to be truly awful for me not to struggle on to the end.
Without question, books change lives. They do that in many, many ways, from the chance to learn new skills or perspectives, to teaching you something about yourself to the discovery of stories that transport you to whole new imaginary worlds. If you are lonely, books can give you company; if you’re sad, they can cheer you up; if you’re happy, they can make you more so.
I clearly remember the first book that changed my life. I must have been about 10 years old and the book was ‘Anne of Green Gables’. When Matthew died, I cried and cried. It was the first time that I realised how powerful a book could be. How the writing could make you care so much for a character that you felt upset when something bad happened to them. Since that day I’ve read many other books that have inspired huge emotions in me, some of them I remember and some of them I don’t. But they have all added something to my life in that moment and beyond.
Being a communicator and a writer myself, I am always blown away by amazing writing. I don’t for a minute compare myself to the great writers whose work I read on a regular basis, but I do know from my own efforts that choosing the right word to cause the right effect does not always come easily. I am fascinated to hear about the ways that writers describe their creative processes. Some say they will write and re-write until they find the perfect combination of words and phrases, others say that they write what comes naturally to them and don’t over-analyse.
For me, every day is Book Day. At a time when it can seem that there are ever more demands on our lives and attention spans, it can sometimes seem that reading a book is a bit old-fashioned. But I don’t see it that way. I see books as an opportunity to glimpse into another world, whether that be fictional or just different to your everyday experiences. I am a trustee for a literacy charity because I believe supporting children to develop these skills changes their lives and opens up so much potential for their future.
So I might not be going to work today dressed as my favourite book character, but I will be taking a few moments to celebrate books and the pleasure they add to my life.
What will you be reading today?
Until next time