Finding a book to talk about for the final post on my reading tales [and My Friend Alexa] has been hard. I contemplated between choosing Macbeth and Harry Potter but the problem with both those choices was there isn’t just a memory attached to these books. There’s an entire yarn, tangled, sometimes with each other because I read these two in the formative years of my life, and untangling that yarn feels like doing the books a disservice. There are so many threads that just talking about one would be incomplete.
Should I tell you that I still remember lines from the soliloquy of Act I Scene 9 of Macbeth because we had to memorize and recite them in front of the entire class in class twelfth? Or that at seventeen I threw a tantrum since my parents refused to buy me HP 6 because it was too expensive.
No, it just wouldn’t do because it wouldn’t be enough.
So I thought I’ll be selfish and talk about a series: The Dark Tower by Stephen King because it was this series that led me to write, finish and self-publish a novella called The Gunslinger. But I have kinda already talked about it in a previous post and that is the best memory I have around the books.
I also thought, briefly, that I’d talk about how Reading Tales as a category on my blog was languishing because I hadn’t realized that I had stopped reading entirely. Until 2019-20 that is when I forced myself to course correct. But I have talked about that too.
Then, I thought back to my first reading experience and the image that popped into my head was of a dusty library, me in my sports uniform, a wee baby of eight, being interrogated by my class teacher about the book I had issued for the weekend. In her defense, she was only trying to figure out if I had actually read the book. But what she didn’t realize was that experience kinda put me off reading for a while.
The fateful book that was in discussion at the time was Noddy.
I had read the first few chapters of the book. But lines like “the bell in Noddy’s hat clinked” made me realize that perhaps I had picked up a book a little too juvenile for me. And when my teacher asked me what I had read, instead of repeating these words to her, I just shook my head and accepted my punishment. I mean she wouldn’t believe me if I told her that Noddy was speaking to his hat, would she?
Sometime later, my house became flooded with Noddy books – this time for my sister – because they were bright picture books and she was after all only three.
Unlike me, she loved Noddy and his quirkiness and bouts of anger and remorse. So I forgot about my enmity with Noddy and read them out to her, making up my own stories for her entertainment. Because it wasn’t enough that I read out stories for her, I had to enact them in front of her too. It’s no wonder I have become a writer and she’s my first audience, even now.
If the trajectory of this post surprised you, let me tell you, I was not prepared for it either! Oh well, books are like that. They find you and hug the crap out of you.