Reading. I love reading. I have always loved reading. Reading is my greatest treasure. I could never, ever be bored when I had access to books. I can sit and read endlessly, never tiring of holding the book.
It was a revelation when I moved from First School to a prep school and had free reign of the class library. I devoured anything and everything I could get my hands on - and formed life-long relationships with some books, that remain good friends now!
At 9 I was reading the complete works of the Bronte sisters, the Anne of Green Gables series, the Emily of New Moon series, the Little House in Big Woods series, Little Women. Anything and everything I could get my hands on and when I ran out of books in the classroom I was allowed to visit the senior school to choose books from that library.
Books were such a huge part of my childhood and have remained so throughout my adult life. When my peers at school had pictures of Take That and Boyzone on their lockers I had postcards of Heathcliff and quotes from Jane Eyre.
So why am I thinking of this now? Because at this time of year, after the madness of Christmas has died down I always find myself drawn back to old favourites - to re-reading the books that I know every chapter of. So what shall I be reading this month?
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte.
Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
Philippa Gregory's historical novels
Anne of Green Gables
The Children of Green Knowe
There is something so comforting about visiting old friends, going through old heartbreaks, sharing old triumphs. Crying as Cathy or little Joy perishes, howling at the untimely demise of Beth. Feeling the joy as lonely little Mary finds friends in Martha, Dickon and Colin. The relief at the moment we find out that Gilbert has "got de turn las' night". The happiness as Mr Rochester and Jane find each other again.
I cannot imagine a life without books and I'm frightfully lucky to never have to, nor will my child as I pass on my love affair with literature to her.
After all, as Gustave Flaubert said "read in order to live"