Reading- a window on the world

William the detectiveThe first book I remember reading was bought for me by my mother’s parents on my 11th birthday in 1958.

That I could read was not in doubt, but how that came about I now have no recollection.  The book was called ‘William the Detective’, written by Richmal Crompton who wrote a whole series of books about the adventures of William and his gang of friends, Douglas, Henry and Ginger, who together called themselves ‘The Outlaws’.

I still have the book and even now if I chance to read a page or two, I am struck by the beauty of her writing, her wisdom and her wit.  I don’t know what it was about that book, which was an unusual present in our family, but as soon as I opened it and began to read the first page, I was captured by the magic of the written word and my interest thus gained.

I had discovered the key to a world that I would otherwise have never known existed.  For me reading was not only infinitely pleasurable, but a window on the world, which to this day is still full of the most wonderful discoveries waiting for me to come upon them.

After that I scarcely had my nose out of a book.  I remember some years later when we were being visited at home by my mother’s elder brother, Vic, and his family, I was sitting behind the sofa on the floor reading as usual.

My mother felt this was impolite since we had guests and told me to stop.  Her brother, a man of very few words, said quietly, ‘Leave the boy alone.  That’s how you learn things, reading.’

How right my Uncle Vic was, bless him.

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