When I am reading a good book, I often have a feeling that the writer is talking to me, I can hear her whispers, like a river flowing through my mind. I can be so moved and overwhelmed by the feeling of being understood. I am not always understood by the people around me, but it does not matter, I am understood by the books.
They said something that lay deeply in my mind, and in my heart, the thoughts I was not conscious about or capable of expressing myself. Good writers must be very observant, they see things in a different light and have a deeper feeling for things around us. Those things we have overlooked or taken for granted. Books make me get to know myself, and to understand my emotions and the way I think and behave.
I spent my childhood in Shanghai, and I remember the School Summer holiday usually lasted more than two and half months because of the hot climate. Having a holiday somewhere else was not common practice at that time. Most people had to work throughout summer and children often spent the whole holiday on their own or with their friends. I did spend some time with my friends during the holiday, but I think I was more excited at the thought that I would have unlimited time to read the books which I did not have time to read otherwise. As a kind of preparation for a long holiday, I would borrow loads of books beforehand so that my need for reading was secured. My parents usually left for work at 08.00 in the morning, I was left alone and it was when my reading journey started, I started becoming a wonderer in a world I created for myself. A feeling of sadness and emptiness would emerge when I finished a good book. It felt like I was moving from the imaginary world back to the real word, unwillingly.
I take books with me wherever I go, even if I know I would not get time to read them on that particular day. It gives me a feeling of comfort and reassurance. I know I have the opportunity to withdraw myself from the world whenever needed. When I get lost, I can find myself in the books, piece by piece.
Some quotes from the children’s authors and illustrators who cannot live without books, and they explain why:
Michael Morpurgo:” Reading a good book is like spending time with your best friend. You never want the book to end and you never want the time with the friend to end.”
Johnny Duddle:” I couldn´t live without books because they were my escape, from drizzly Sundays and dark evenings. They fired my imagination and opened up new worlds.”
Marus Sedgwick:” I can´t live without books because books have been my life. Some people seem to think that those of us who read (and perhaps write) books are retreating from reality. In fact,the opposite is true. Art in general and books in particular are paths to understanding the world in which we find ourselves, and I for one find the world infinitely enhanced through the magical transformations that words can create.”