My mother taught me to read. (She also taught me to read critically, but that was much later). For as long as I can remember, I read. A lot. When I was at primary school I read four or five books a week, all age appropriate of course. I continued reading until I went to university when, suddenly there wasn’t time for reading for pleasure. I took up reading again when I started work. I had a longish train commute into London. Which meant I had at least two hours a day where I had nothing better to do than read. I went to the library once a week and scooped up a load of books from the ‘just returned’ trolley – thus ensuring a fairly eclectic selection. Sometimes, the librarians would point me in the direction of something new that they thought I’d like.
I used to read at lunchtime, read before bed, read whenever I could. And then I had children.Pfft. Suddenly there was no time for ANYTHING. Pick up a book? Forget it. By the time I found the book from wherever the Tykes had hidden it, found the right page, unglued it if it had been lovingly covered in jam/porridge/worse, it was time to do something else. So, reading for pleasure was something limited to my lunch hour at work or when I was ill. It was all academic anyway because I never got to browse in the library. The closest thing I got to a fun book was Hairy McLairy (I love that book).
That was the case until I was given a smart phone. The first app I downloaded was the Kindle app. Now, suddenly, I had access to a bookshop that was always open and I could get the book within minutes (seconds, even). I could read in little snippets on my phone – which was always with me and always off limits to little people. Now I read while the kids are splashing in the bath, while I’m waiting for them to finish their colouring before they leave nursery, while I’m waiting in the doctor’s waiting room with a sleeping baby on my shoulder. It doesn’t take up any room in my handbag (which is full of kid related clutter) and I don’t have to wonder where I put it down.
Thank you Kindle app. You’ve given me back my most treasured hobby.