Reading for Life

Came back from London today, and watching TV, I saw this advert. It’s been on before, and it’s always brilliant. It’s from the National Literacy Trust and The Reading Agency, to promote reading and literacy.

Many people find books boring, and some say they’ve never read for pleasure – something I find shocking, as I’ve grown up with books, and you’d never see me without one. Books are great, and I can’t imagine a life without them.

I started to read around the age of four, because I was so curious to find out what the mysterious scribblings everywhere were and what they meant. Ever since then, books have been my closest and most trusty companions. I followed Agaton Sax as he tracked baddies through the streets of Byköping; I learned to decipher the robber language with the Red and White Roses (and shared in the horror of discovering the arsenic in the chocolate bar!); I solved mysteries together with Nancy Drew, the Adventure kids, Miss Marple and Hercule Poirot; I gave up spring howls with the robber’s daughter, lifted horses with Pippi Longstocking and reunited with Jonatan Lionheart in Nangijala; partook in midnight feasts with the girls of St. Clare; had the wits scared out of me at Chilleen Academy – not to mentioned laughed at the madness of Macdonald Hall and Miss Scrimmage’s.

As I grew older, I slew tentacled monsters with some people and a Golden Retriever; hitched a ride on a spaceship with the infinite improbability drive; colonised a new planet in the Andromeda galaxy; travelled to Tar Valon to learn how to use the One Power; met with a variety of witches, wizards, paladins, knights, rogues, rangers and goodness knows who else. I flew airplanes, tried to grow kittens from pussy willow catkins, saw the toils of early 20th century orphans in Sweden and followed a Romani girl from childhood to adolescence. I got accepted to Hogwarts, watched the autumn leaves fall over Prince Edward Island and the snow fall over a little house on the prairie and I married Mr. Darcy. Not to mention all the times I saved the world, or at least saved the day.

Learning to read is the best thing I have ever learned in my life. Anyone who has never discovered the joys of reading… I pity them deeply, for they have never known the fantastic feeling of reading something that is so good, you still remember it like it was yesterday, even if twenty years later. The characters are like friends, their worlds are ours to enjoy – to make us cry as well as make us laugh. Above all, they make us what we are: alive.

Agaton Sax (series) by Nils-Olof Franzén; Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist/Bill Bergson (series) by Astrid Lindgren; Nancy Drew (series) by Carolyn Keene; the Adventure (series) by Enid Blyton; Miss Marple (series) and Hercule Poirot (series) by Agatha Christie; Ronja Rövardotter/Ronia the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren; Pippi Longstocking (series) by Astrid Lindgren; Bröderna Lejonhjärta/The Brothers Lionheart by Astrid Lindgren; St. Clare (series) by Enid Blyton; Phantom Valley (series) by Lynn Beach; Bruno & Boots (series) by Gordon Korman.

Pretty much any book by Dean R Koontz; The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (series) by Douglas Adams; Universums öde (series) by George Johansson; The Wheel of Time (series) by Robert Jordan; various books by Terry Pratchett (Discworld series), David Eddings (Belgariad & Elenium series, etc.) and Tracy Hickman & Margaret Weis (Dragonlance series); Flyg för livet! and Farlig spaning by Veronica Wägner and technically a bit of Biggles (series) by WE Johns – there was another couple of books I was thinking of here, but I can’t remember titles/author; Oskar i Paradiset by Margareta Lindberg; Kulla-Gulla (series) by Martha Sandwall-Bergström; Katitzi (series) by Katarina Taikon; Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling; Anne of Green Gables (series) by LM Montgomery; Little House on the Prairie (series) by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

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