May 7, 2012

The Reader of Books...

... is the name of the first chapter of Matilda, a lovely book by Roald Dahl.

List of books Matilda had read before the age of 5:

  • The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
  • Nicholas Nickleby - Charles Dickens
  • Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
  • Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
  • Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
  • Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Th. Hardy
  • Gone to Earth - Mary Webb
  • Kim - Rudyard Kipling
  • The Invisible Man - H. G. Wells
  • The Old Man and the Sea - Ernest Hemingway
  • The Sound and the Fury - William Faulkner
  • The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
  • The Good Companions - J.B. Priestly
  • Brighton Rock - Graham Greene
  • Animal Farm - George Orwell
In BOLD, the books I read before the age of 25.

I have always imagined that this was a book about me, a little girl that reads and reads her life away. On the other hand, I didn't have the misfortune of having parents who didn't appreciate the value of reading, but rather encouraged me all the time. My father never told me to turn off the light at night and stop reading, even though my lamp has probably been bothering him all his life. Instead, he has invested a lot of effort and money into buying me the best reading lamps he could afford, so I wouldn't suffer at all.
By the time I was old enough to realize it, my father had gathered a huge collection of books that covered most of our living room while my mother had most probably read all of them.
Unfortunately, not a lot of this collection survived after a brief financial crysis, but long live the Kindle and the Internet! I have already filled all the shelves in my father's house with books I bought in the last few years, since I started having my own money and now I am just filling my Kindle with all sorts of treasures from the Wonderland of WWW.

It isn't always like that, though.
A couple of years ago, one of my students won a trophy in a school competition and after a few minutes of showing off, he asked me, gravely:
- And what am I supposed to do with this, Miss? Where do I put it?
-Well, display it at home, in your bookshelf. What else can you do with it?
- But, Miss, I don't have a bookshelf...
I thought maybe we were having a lost-in-translation moment, so I explained:
- In your bookshelf, where you keep your books in your house. Do you understand?
At which point, he just burst into laughter:
- Of course I know what a bookshelf is, but we don't have any. There are no books in my house!
And he found it natural not to have any books. And I was appalled by his news, while he just laughed at my confusion...

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