I was contacted a recently and asked if I would be interested in writing a piece entitled "Why we can't live without books" as part of World Book Day celebrations. I happily agreed because if ever there was a slogan I could get behind and support fully it had to be that one right? However over the past few days I've been trying to think about what to write for an answer to what is in my mind a no brainer question and I've found it hard to do.
So why is it so hard to answer such an obvious question? It's probably because I can't envisage my life without books. It is like trying to visual a world without water or trees in that I just can't comprehend it.
I read from a very young age. I don't really remember learning to read because I was so small but I do remember spending countless hours reading to my younger brother and in turn teaching him to read. Back then it was time when the two of us could sit together and spend quality time. It is something we did on a regular basis getting through piles and piles of books usually borrowed from our local library. Being without books at this age would have completely changed my childhood beyond recognition.
As I got older and into high school then college and university my reading tastes changed. Partly because of the total lack of YA in the late 90s early 2000s but also because I was required to read silly amounts of non fiction as part of the various courses I did. Again being without books this point in my life would have been impossible. The vast amount of reading I did at this age got me through those courses and while I wouldn't necessarily recommend much of what I read at that age without it I wouldn't be where I am today career wise.
Once finishing full time education I finally found I had time to read again and that coincided with the release of titles that would now be considered YA. They were the books I had been looking for when I was a teen but didn't exist. Over the past eight or nine years the amount of YA titles (and UKYA titles in particular) available has exploded and particularly over the last five years since I have been blogging I have rarely been without one on the go. I cannot imagine being without those books. Through reading those books and discussing them with other my eyes have been opened to different cultures and races by reading books by authors like Keren David and Keris Stainton. I've got a better idea about all the fuss about feminism and why it is something relevant to me by reading books like Only ever yours. I feel like I have a better understanding of people who identify as LGBT through reading books by authors like Cat Clarke and James Dawson. It was through reading those books that I made a wider range of blogger friends who I adore because we are friends based on common interests not purely because we happened to be born within the same academic year and were forced to socialise together from the age of four. Getting involved in blogging got me invited to events in London and this Norfolk girl went along terrified at the age of 25 to her first event at the thought of going to the big city alone (yes sad but true).
In short reading YA books as an adult has made me more understanding of others and given me a wider world view which I didn't really think I needed to know about because I never thought it was particularly relevant to me.
So why can't we live without books? They bond us together, they educate us and make us more tolerant and nicer human beings. Without them my life wouldn't be as full and I cannot imagine existing in this world without them.
As a reward for getting through this post I have a YA book bundle giveaway for one of my lucky readers to win. If you want to enter leave a comment below with a way for me to contact you or tweet me with a message to say you want to win the YA book bundle giveaway.
My life was very ...challenging growing up. There was a lot going on that shouldn't have been going on at home and things were no better at school. And I think I only got through it all because of books.
I think I'd have struggled to my thoughts into words on this topic as well.