The opening story of “Kindling the Word” is a nostalgic trip through my childhood years, books I owned and the wonder of the local public library.
It is strange as approaching Christmas I have played with one of my earliest memories of reading. I was given a book for Christmas called “King Willow” Here it is, or what it looked like then:
To be honest it was not my favourite book and eventually I gave it to the local Oxfam shop. I loved going along to that shop and browsing and buying books. I had both Teach Yourself books for Afrikaans and Arabic – convinced in my young mind that I could learn both just by studying these books! I recall going back to the shop years later and seeing my book still on the shelves. Seeing how much it costs to buy a copy now I’m sorry I missed the chance to sell it on eBay.
The point was that I received the book as a present when I was about five years old and I remember the frustration of opening the book at the first chapter and finding I could only read words like ‘the,’ ‘and’ and such like so that I could not make any sense of the story.
Whether that set me on the path to mastering reading I don’t know, it is just a fragment of a memory that haunts me and perhaps spurred me on to devour books by the shelf-load. There were still books that came along to haunt me with my poor understanding as I progressed to the adult library with its challenging titles and plethora of authors all clamouring “read me.” I guess I still struggled even then to make sense of “Far From the Madding Crowd” at school preferring to focus on “My Family and Other Animals” and counting on my love of that one to get me through the English Literature ‘O’ Level. It has only been recently that I have summoned up the courage to take on some of the classics that everyone else seems to have read. Becoming a Reader and having to read daunting volumes like McGrath’s “Christian Theology” and Collins’ “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible” has made the final stages of my reading journey easier, but I still prefer a good sci-fi story, thank you.