Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Books, Literature, Me

When I was at primary school I was taught early on by the teachers who had taught all my brothers before me. Despite having 'a wonderfully vivid imagination, that perhaps ought to be reigned in' I was 'a slow reader, I maintained no pattern while writing' and I was to be 'referred into a specialist group for dyslexic pupils.' My mother was furious, yes it was true that my brothers had all been struggling students in literature, and so I have never regarded dyslexic people to be inferior or by any means uneqaul to others, but my mum knew me better than anyone and she knew I was different to my brothers.

I not only read well, I read fast. I finished every book I was given and pushed my way through my mum's shelves too. I regularly finished the boxes of level books at school, I remember begging the teachers to let me use the year 6 library despite that I was two years overdue for it, they refused. I took matters into my own hands. I remember this because it was my first act of theft, well it was borrowing but it certainly wasnt allowed. I am a little proud and a little ashamed of the way I did this. It was the end of the day, I had planned it all day. I went out of the door wearing my bag and then a few feet away I exclaimed, ran back to the door monitor and said "I've left my coat!"
"Hurry up then Sian, run on in."
I ran! I grabbed my coat off the peg and then bolted down the corridoor, it was eerily empty with walls lined with bare coat pegs and closed doors. I dodged into the library, there was a hoover on the floor, I didnt have long before a cleaner or someone came by. I knew what I was looking for, I'd seen the poster for it on the wall directly above where it sat on the shelf. I fingered the books and snatched it up greedily. It was thicker, heavier than any book I'd ever read before. I stuffed it under my coat and hurried back along and through the door.
The book I'd chosen was Harry Potter, The Chamber of Secrets.

I read page after page deep into the night, under the covers with a torch. I savoured every word, I remember thinking nothing had ever felt so wonderful, I was in year 4 so I would have been about eight I think. The year being 2001. I sank into the book more than I'd ever sank into anything, not having read the first one didnt matter, I was hooked. I continued to secretly 'borrow' books from the library and it was months before someone noticed. It was Miss Smith, an elderly strict looking woman who scared the living daylights out of me. I told her I was reading the books and bringing them back but that I wasnt old enough to be allowed in that library. She sat me down at break time and told me to read a page outloud, I did so. I must have passed inspection because she made me up a pass that allowed me library access :-)
I took every book back that I borrowed, except one. A few days before the end of school I went back for it. I just had to keep it, that book had started my real true love of literature. Here it is, I will cherish this copy forever.

The day I started highschool, I had my first English lesson and I remember being sat at the back, next to a boy who talked none stop about killer robots. The teacher was a formidable woman who seemed to vibrate with discipline and class control. She threw us into the deep end, and within minutes was explaining words we'd never heard of. Then she mentioned a 'premise' the word rang in my ears, and she continued to say that there was a famous one in the book "Pride and Predjudice" ...I was 11, I'd read my mothers copy of Pride and Predjudice a year ago, with a dictionary at my side for every other word I read and didnt understand. I didn't even think before my hand shot in the air, I was bursting. I knew it, I knew it.
She nodded at me and the words just fell out.
"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife."
I froze the second I'd said it, half the class were staring at me, the teacher was staring at me and then she smiled and I swear her eyes glittered.
"Very good."
I glowed, the class must have hated me instantly, but I glowed. That teacher and I were going to get along pretty well, over the next five years I soared and I read the works of Hardy, Shelley, Dickens, Austen, Bronte on and on. Poetry, Novels, Articles. I won the school's english award two years running, I spent two years volunteering articles to a youth magazine which the school library sweetly collected up and posted on their wall :-) and despite the nightmares, the stress, the worry, when I finally collected my envelope and I read GCSE English Language A* English Literature A* I almost cried with relief. :-)
So that's that. I've always been a reader and I have always loved it. :-)

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