Kitty Blackadder

A Scottish blog about making art, too much eyeshadow and becoming a grown up.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Hello, Old Friend...

I'd like to start out by saying that I did not intentionally go out and buy five colour co-ordinated books for photogenic reasons - I swear, it just bizarrely worked out like that. They're not even the same genre or author or anything; bizarre chance.

As a child I read a lot, and I mean, a lot. My parents gave me a bed time, of course, but I never had a lights out time; as long as I was in bed for the agreed time I could stay up and read as much as I wanted after that. And oh boy, did I. I read so many books; from all the usuals like Harry Potter to reading D.H. Lawrence when I was still in primary school - I even read the entire Lord of the Rings for the first time when I was ten years old... and had nightmares about the 'Black Riders' for about a year afterwards...

This reading bug continued throughout my teens, I rarely went anywhere without one and I would spend my days off school (or sometimes in class ... woops) with my face buried in books. My best friend read as much as I did and so we would often spend the school holidays together... in complete silence... reading. As I got older and I went to college and had a more time consuming job, I lost a lot of the time to just sit around for hours and read and sadly, my reading became more sporadic; when I had a good book I would devour it, but then when I finished that might be it for a while.

When I was 20 I received a Kindle as a gift; it was a very generous gift but truthfully it wasn't something I had ever considered. I like books. Not just reading, I like books. The art, the font, the paper, the smell, looking back and my old Harry Potters and seeing the sad pages covered in mascara stained tears, or the Creme Egg stains all over pages I clearly read over the Easter hols. 

Nevertheless, the Kindle did reignite my love for reading for a while. I loved the convenience of it; how light weight it was, how handy it is having so many books at once (when you read at the speed I do!) - I really liked reading on it... for a while. I bought Kenny a Kindle and he fell in love with reading for the first time in his life; he was reading every spare second he got, and he was reading all sorts of wonderful stories and series. I felt left out.

As time passed, I stopped associating myself as being the literary one in the relationship - suddenly he could quote more text than me, he could recall more classics. I felt almost like I had lost a bit of myself. Kitty is a book worm, I don't watch TV, or spend hours on YouTube, I appreciate the simple pleasure of a cup of tea, a blanket and a book - but I guess not anymore. My vocabulary shrank, my retention of knowledge of the books I had read dwindled, it was really getting me down.

It's almost like I had forgotten how to read, or how to enjoy it. 

A couple of weeks ago my mum was reading a paperback (not her Kindle) and she remarked that she really felt the Kindle was putting her off the whole thing for some reason. The more I thought about it, the more I related to that. Kindles are a fantastic invention; convenient, economical, practical and, for some people like Kenny, they're the way forward. Not for me. It's not a bad experience reading on one, it's just different. It's like watching a really visually powerful, beautiful film on a long haul flight - the circumstances don't give it justice. It isn't as intense or enjoyable as it should be.

So I bought a book, like an actual paper book, for the first time in I have no idea how long. I love it. I mean yes, I am enjoying the story, but more than that I am enjoying being with books again. On my break at work, opening it up and knowing I'll be transported away from reality for at least a little while, fighting my closing eyes at night trying to read just one more chapter, trying to read while walking and realising it takes me 10 times as long to get anywhere - all the little things that come with reading that aren't actually reading, I think those are the things I missed most. 

I have almost finished this first book and so headed into town, to the local charity shop, to pick up some more because I can't imagine being without a book to read right now. It's too early to say whether I've caught the reading bug again for good, but I seriously hope so; I'm starting to feel like my old self again.

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