Yesterday was World Book Day, a fact I disgracefully did not know until I saw two miniature Paddington Bears walking to school ready for dress as your favourite book character day. (Just in case you are interested I once had a Paddington Bear teddy, until my sister needed a pair of wellingtons one winter – is Paddington Bear without wellingtons still Paddington Bear?)
Luckily the idea of dressing up was only something done in schools not our office as picking a favourite character would be hard enough, but then trying to dress up would I imagine be rather dull. Characters in adult fiction don’t tend to have fancy costumes and certainly in crime fiction other than the Sherlock Holmes pipe it would be difficult to dress as something recognisable. Of course that is understandable as to keep children interested in books they need to have an element of reality suspension. I don’t imagine the Harry Potter series would have been quite so popular if he’d been a boy called Derek at the local comprehensive having a feud with his neighbour over a missing protractor.
My love of reading definitely started in childhood and although I’m sure lots of people come to it later in life, I think it’s a terrible shame that its seen as a punishment by so many. A school I’m involved with is pushing literacy to its primary children at the moment. This involves changing classrooms round to include reading corners and buying new shiny resources. They have also recently invested in bookshelves to create a proper library as previously all the books were kept jumbled into cardboard boxes. In order to find a ‘take home’ book the students had to rummage through the box and hope to find something with all its pages still attached.
Now I am certainly not anal when it comes to books. Unlike my Sister who alphabetises everything and has all her books lined up correctly according to the Dewey Decimal system, mine tend to be on shelves according to where I could find space, or in piles on the floor ready to be read. However whatever method used, the spines have to be in view and they have to be well looked after. That’s part of the joy of books, seeing all the titles on the spines, all the colours and fonts and sizes. Keeping them in a cardboard box does not say to me that they are items to be enjoyed and treated with respect!
Back to my latest book and Never Look Back has had a strong start. About a third of the way in and so far I’m enjoying it. Unlike some crime fiction I’ve read recently I don’t feel that the lives of the characters started on page 1, and that there is nothing to them other than the moment they are in now. Its started slowly with enough background to make the characters alive, but enough going on to keep me turning the pages so hopefully it continues as well.