Books have always been my companions. Even when I’m not reading them, just having them lying on my bedside table reassures me. Books remind me that there is more to truth than facts. That people can keep imagining a better world. That there is an escape hatch when I really need it.
I’ve been on leave for a week. Leave I have to take before my contract expires at the end of August. Tomorrow is the last day of leave and today I finally picked up a book after binge watching TV. TV watching is great but the story is built through a director’s eye. Reading is built on my imagination.
I picked up a book and only after a few chapters I began to want to write again. Write for the love of it, not just for the paycheck that will end in a fortnight. Reading is one of the most important things a writer needs to do. Reading in areas unrelated to the expertise of the writer is the most important thing. It releases the mind. Massages the thinking. Offers solutions unthought. Justifies bookshop visits.
So, for the final fortnight of my six-month gig as an academic writer, I am going to write five blogs. My daughter’s school runs Book Week (20-26th August) over two weeks. The festivus begins with a dress up on Monday and a disco on Friday fortnight. Over that time I am going to write a tribute to the five books that changed my life. The five books which mean books get pride of place in my home. The five books most dog-eared. The five books I will read and have begun to read to my young daughters because reading aloud as a family is the best gift that can be given.
What are your five books? Why? I would love to know.
Book 1: The book of my childhood
Book 2: Book of my freedom and rebellion
Book 3: Book of my politics
Book 4: Book of my messy methods
Book 5: Book of women in science