Yes, that’s me. I have a soft spot for books. Ever since I can remember, me and my brother, we had a big bookcase in our shared bedroom with lots and lots of books. I remember collecting Disney comic books, ‘Asterix le Gaulois’ or Popeye. We also had some books of Greek mythology, Grimm’s Fairy Tales or Aesop's fables. Both my parents encouraged us and frequently read to us stories.
After I grew up a bit, I had a saying in which books I had to read. I remember visiting my small bookstore of my home town and I had this lovely tickling sensation of anticipation to find my next book. At first I loved writers like Enid Blyton, Penelope Delta and then Agatha Christie. Growing up I switched to classics with breaks of writers like Stephen King or Tom Robbins when I also discovered Marvel comic books.
Reading comic books was a bit of a struggle. My mother hated them. She insisted that I should be reading proper books and not ‘junk’ as she called them. She was saying that comic books are not educational and for unintelligent, uncharismatic and uncultured people! We had a ‘war’ going on in the house for years when she was throwing away every comic book she could find hidden in the most bizarre places of the house. I know that I lost some great value editions of the ‘80s and ‘90s like that. Other people in their teens hide porn; I was hiding ‘X-Men’. It’s a bit sad, I know, but true! However, she didn’t manage to get this idea out of my mind.
Growing up in a small town, I didn’t have many options and the available stores were limited. I remember vividly in one of my first visits in London, I was amazed by the multi-storey bookstores and dedicated places like ‘The Forbidden Planet’ where I could find anything I needed to satisfy my geek self. Even now, I can spend ages browsing through selves, checking books and deciding what to get. I don’t think I’ve read lots of books compared to other people. OK, I might not be as knowledgeable as ‘Stephen Fry’ for example but who cares? I only wish I could remember more of the books I’ve read in the past.
My love for reading is unquestionable. I also believe that it is very important, if not essential to a man’s growing up. It broadens your horizons. It can be educating but very entertaining at the same time. That is why I was very surprised to read that ‘one in three children in London doesn’t own a single book’! A research indicated and I quote that:
‘The study also found almost 40 per cent of those aged eight to 17 live in homes with 10 or fewer books – although 85 per cent of those aged eight to 15 own a games console, and 81 per cent have a mobile phone.‘
And for that, the only people to blame are the parents. It’s not like books are hard to find in a place like London. These children do not live in the middle of a desert or a rain forest. The reason I was extra happy for the success of books like ‘Harry Potter’ or even the ‘Twilight Saga’ is the fact that it was making youngsters read. However, apparently that wasn’t enough. Of course I'm not saying that everybody should finish 'War and Peace' but...
I love this satirical article by 'The Daily Mash' called: 'Books Making Children Gay' (If you read it don't take it seriously, it's the Mash after all)