A Love of Books

A Love of Books

Part of my recent self-development has been identifying passions and being able to talk about them.

One of these has always been books. Or reading them specifically. I had a past article on the Importance of Physical Books.

[Photo by Laura Kapfer on Unsplash]

Books when Young

It helps that I come from a family of book readers. With the exception of dad I was surrounded by a mum, grandma, sisters and aunts and an occasional uncle who loved to read.

I remember many a car journey happily focused on a book for hours. Early years included lots of Asterix and Obelix, comics (of Beano and Dandy variety), Hardy Boys, Three Investigators, ladybird history books and many others I don't remember.

Fantasy in the Library

For the first three years of secondary school (ages 11-14) my lunch breaks were happily spent in the school library. And the main subject was fantasy (and some sci-fi) books, of authors great and not so great. Anne MacCaffrey, Fighting Fantasy, David Eddings, Ursula Leguin, David Gemmell, Terry Pratchett, Robert Jordan, Tolkein, Piers Anthony, Mercedes Lackey, Isaac Asimov, Raymond E Feist, Dragonlance, Forgotten Realms, Terry Brooks, Janny Wurts. Among others!

It wasn't that the library was a refuge. It was more that teenage me couldn't see the point of mixing with people when instead I could be reading untold books and making efficient use of time.

I also read alot at home and had my own large collection including many role-playing games books. Plus a mum who worked in the library system so books could easily be sought out or times extended!

What is it About Books

Books were (and still are) a portal into another world, whether set in another world, the far future, an alternative England, a weird place called the USA or historic Europe. A place with different rules and other mindsets. For me fascinating places so different from rural England of my youth.

I would happily be focused on reading until the early hours, and many books were finished in one sitting.  I think for many years having a library / shelves of books was a strong part of my identity.

It's also been a way of connecting with people. Talking about fantasy books or Dickens or books at a book club.

Maybe some of it is also about control. Reading for fun is usually a very private matter, where we can choose what we read and at what pace. Whether we want to continue with a series or one book of a particular author is enough.

Modern Times

Books have grown and stuck with me. I still read a lot of fantasy and the list of authors has grown and evolved (Robin Hobb, Brandon Sanderson, NK Jemisin, Neil Gaiman, George RR Martin, Joe Abercrombie) and I read alot more in other genres.

It's also become a tool for learning languages. Either reading books I know, short stories and childrens books of other cultures and a few dual books (same story, one page in English and the other in Spanish / German / Polish / Portuguese)

I've tried Kindles but never got on with them well. I can understand the logic of why they are good but I find I can never sleep well (usually I read just before bed), even with the Kindle paperwhite. I also miss the physical reminder of books. You also can't lend a digital title so easily.

So I only read physical books although I use digital titles for gaming. Which is more expensive but I'm happy with second hand and random books. Ironically all the titles I publish are in digital formats!

My identity with books has also shifted, as over several years I shed thousands of fantasy, gaming and other books, down to under a hundred of them. But leaving things behind was part of a larger journey!

My non-fiction books however, are mostly audiobooks. I've rarely managed to sit and read a decent sized non-fiction book. I can happily listen to Audiobooks and Podcasts for hours though, normally while doing something else.

Finishing Up

So that's an initial attempt at explaining a passion for books.

What is your relationship with books?



Duncan is an aspiring creative nomad, who publishes random lists and tools for roleplaying games. Hobbies include salsa, games, books, podcasts, languages and history.
It varies. Probably in Europe