As this year's Book Week Scotland draws to a close I thought I would post my #ThankBooks - an excellent campaign which asks us to dedicate our thanks to those books or literary figures who shaped our lives.
I think asking anyone from a literary background to dedicate a thanks to books is a tough measure indeed - near impossible. So many books have impacted me in one way or another and continue to do so. For me, I think it's down to the people who showed me the way. But where to start?
Do I thank my parents? They read to me every single night without fail until I was 11 years old - well past the age most parents stop reading to their children, and when children are happy reading by themselves. Their commitment ensured a lifelong love of reading and a passion to engage with books which still burns in me today. What about my substitute Primary 5 teacher? She silently wept as he read us 'Charlotte's Web', whilst we contemplated the sad news that our previous teacher had passed away from breast cancer. Her openness about her feelings and her relating the situation to us through the book, was a profound moment that taught me how widely a story can be interpreted by its readers, and how much comfort it can give in times of need. Or do I thank my high-school English teacher, Mrs Davies? Despite my average grades she gave me the courage to believe that I was a writer - the moment she proclaimed in front of the entire class that I was the only student who could consider tackling the prose section of the exam paper, I knew that I could, and I did. Her energy was frenetic and contagious - here was a woman who truly loved the written word and it showed. It transferred, settled and sunk in. I can still see her, hands pressed above her brow, eyes searching the back of the classroom, 'like stout Cortez when with Eagle eyes, He star'd at the Pacific...'
I think, therefore, my thanks to books will be to the memories they gave me. Dad's melodic voice as he read me Rupert Bear in rhyming couplets; Mum's packed bookshelves ripe for the picking on any sleepless night; and the slightly bonkers and wonderfully enchanting teachers who all made a loud impression on a quiet child.