When I was a child, my mother read to us occasionally before bed time.  Not a lot, but at times she did.  The most exciting story she read to my siblings and me, I’ve always thought, was The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.  I was a nine year old tomboy living in a small town, and yearned for such adventures, packing my satchel once to run away in the middle of the night, but when the time came, I lost my courage and snuggled further back under my blankets, angry with myself because I couldn’t go through with it!  I couldn’t wait for the nights that my mom would read a couple of chapters and was rather sad when there was no more to read.  On my own, I would read the likes of Enid Blyton’s The Magic Faraway Tree, The Enchanted Wood, The Famous Five and Nancy Drew.

My high school years saw me reading Mills and Boons type books, while dreaming of the likes of Tom Cruise in Top Gun. When I was thirteen or fourteen, and in boarding school, I got my hands on Lace by Shirley Conran.  I remember my father being concerned that it was not appropriate for someone my age.  I think I said everyone at school was reading it, which they were, and somehow I got away with it.  For more serious reads I would go for Catherine Cookson.  In my English Literature Class in high school, among our set books I remember having to read were, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men and Empire of the Sun, and of course an obligatory Shakespeare which was Macbeth.

When I was in my early to late twenties I read mostly novels.  I have a little notebook, that I’ve kept from back then, listing the books I read from, more or less, twenty years ago. Dean Koontz was  a favorite for a couple of years, and I would read whatever of his books I could get my hands on.   I read several Stephen King books, but I preferred Koontz. I read a few of Frank G Slaughter’s medical books, along with Robin Cook for the thriller side of the medical business.  I would also read some of Jonathon Kellerman and Minette  Walters for the thriller stories.  Seeing I was born in Africa, how could I not read Wilbur Smith? There was another author EV Thompson, who also wrote some African sagas which I immersed myself in and dare I admit, there were times when for a light read I would pick up a Danielle Steele book.

These days I prefer factual stories.  After all, as Mark Twain quoted once upon a time, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”  From time to time I’ll read a novel, but mostly it’s true stories.

I finished reading Into the Wild.  It’s not a long read and Krakauer writes descriptively, hooking you in straight away, same as Into Thin Air.  It’s one of those books, I feel, where the writer makes you really experience the story along with the characters.  Which is what all books should do.  Some writers just do it better than others.

So, now I am tackling A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. I’m getting used to the old English style of writing and am now sufficiently drawn into the story to want to see where it is leading…………

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