I can’t remember a time that I didn’t read. One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my bed on a school morning, one sock on and one abandoned on the floor, with a book in my hand and my mind anywhere but on getting ready for school. I drove my poor mum to distraction as she spent most of her waking hours trying to chivvy me from my book into the real world. I wasn’t particularly impressed by this; living in the real world (which involved going to school) was definitely overrated when there were far more interesting worlds to explore in books (which frequently involved magic, swordfights and other exciting shenanigans).
I think part of the attraction of books for me was to do with my hearing disability. The words, printed in black and white on the page, were accessible, somehow more tangible and easier to understand than the often confusing world in which I found myself. While my friends went mental over their favourite TV shows (what is this Friends of which you speak?), I lost myself in book after book, disappearing for hours into those black and white printed pages that transformed into vibrant universes in my head. Subtitles weren’t really a thing when I was growing up and it took far too much concentration to watch a film or TV series, so reading was the way to go.
After five long years at university, where I studied languages and translation, I returned home and became a bookseller, thinking that it would be a stopgap before I embarked on a career in translation. Except… I was being paid to talk to people about books. I was privileged enough to receive and read advanced copies of books that weren’t due to appear in the shops for months (insert smug bookseller face here). I was in a position where people trusted my opinion, were leaving the shop with books that I knew they would absolutely adore based on my recommendations. I slowly realised that this wasn’t just a stopgap; I wanted to make a career out of it.
I’ve started this blog because (if you haven’t got the message already) I just love talking about books. I love sharing what I’m reading with customers and my colleagues and helping them to discover something that they might not otherwise have picked up. I’m not very good at recording what I’ve read, either, so this is a sort of diary for me to record my thoughts and keep a record of what I’m reading. Also, something that I have discovered after over a year working in a bookshop is that people can find books intimidating. Some people stick with the same authors because they feel safe, and they don’t know how to go about finding something new to read. If my reviews help somebody to take a chance, to explore something new and to go in a different direction on their reading journey, I’ll consider this a success.