Monday, 7 March 2011

My life in books: How it all started.

Yesterday I read a fantastic book. It was.. amazing. I'll talk about that one another day, as it deserves some special attention. It had many fantastic passages, and so many lovely tid-bits to quote, but one that made me think was this tiny bit about people never forgetting That First Book.

You know - the one that started it all. That got you thinking that this reading lark is fun. It mentioned that you'll never forget that book, and it got me thinking about my very own First Book, and how I could mark out my life, in books. So this will be the first of many posts about books, and what they mean to me.

I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember. I remember rushing home to read Donald Duck comics under a shady tree, or sneaking into my brother's room to grab his copy of STOP, and Archie comics, and reading encyclopedias by torch light (I know. Geek.).. But my First Book was this little gem:

Jacqueline Wilson's The Suitcase Kid.

It was the start of winter, the year was 1994, and I was 8 years old, estranged in this wonderful new place, with lots of pale kids running around. My perma-Asian-tan was a novelty, and so was my accent. It was Reading Time, and since I didn't have a book with me, I was given a trip to the library and this was the first of many books I would borrow from the school.

I don't remember who recommended it to me.. Was it Amy or Hazel (my first friends at St. Sid's!) or was it the lady helping out at the library? Either way, magic happened the moment I sat down in my little plastic chair in front of Mrs. Bushin's table. I picked it up and was immediately thrown into Andy's world. A child of divorce, Andrea (ANDY!) bounced from one home to another, dealing with step-siblings and strange family dynamics. The book is divided quaintly into 26 chapters, each starting with a letter from the alphabet.. A is for.. B is for.. etc. And I couldn't get enough.

My own parents were happily married, so I couldn't possible understand what this girl was going through.. But as long as I had that book in my hand, I felt like I knew exactly what she was feeling, and I was her friend.

The book had given the key to this whole other world, and upon finishing the book, I couldn't wait to get another chance to visit the library. If I liked reading before, I was positively in love with it after this book. It's not 'the best children's book EVER WRITTEN!!one!11!one!!', but it was one that opened my eyes to this whole other world where literally anything could happen.

I don't think I realized the significance this book would hold in my life, but looking back now.. The stuff I read before were probably not age/reading-ability-appropriate, and so I couldn't digest it as well as I could Ms. Wilson's book. And revisiting my old haunts now, I still love them very much, but The Suitcase Kid has a Very Special place in my heart as my First Book.

After Ms. Wilson, there was Mr. Dahl, Mr. Lewis, and Ms. Smith to occupy my time, and after that there was a whole brigade of authors, but The Suitcase Kid had been my key to the world of words. And I'll be forever grateful.

And I have to ask - what was yours???

.. to be continued .. :)


calvin said...

Mine would be Gnomes series by Tony Wolf!

Ben Laksana said...

for me it was the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine. can't really remember which book but I think loved them all. it gave me chills down my spine and piss on my bed. damn..was I that lame? damn.

MITA DIRAN said...

Second for the Goosebumps series. Although it wasn't exactly my first book (it's actually Spot The Dog's pop-up books) but the series got me into writing, and very much inspired my first cerpen "The Ghost in the Alley" Hahaha.

My first Goosebumps? GHOST BEACH.

Deska said...

Mine, I would say "The Famous Five" by Enid Blyton! I love all series of Lima Sekawan.. It makes me feel like I was on an adventure with them.. Since then I started to love reading books.. :D

Deska said...

Mine, I would say "The Famous Five" by Enid Blyton! I love all series of Lima Sekawan.. It makes me feel like I was on an adventure with them.. Since then I started to love reading books.. :D

colson said...

This is a great post - one I can relate to. Yeah, reading and assembling books has been one of my favourites too.

I'm not sure about my first one. But I read the first one which swept me away when I was eight ( or maybe nine): Johan Fabricius: "De Scheepsjongens van Bontekoe". It's the story of three boys - employed as cabin boys on a 17th century ship sailing to the East Indies (can you believe that ?! - it is no coincidence my wife came from Indonesia and my daughters in law are Indonesians :) ).