Like father, like daughter (and mother)


We have a millionaire in the family! Hurrah! At last I can retire!

Well, if only.

Reading.pngIt’s not that kind of millionaire, but is arguably a better type: a reading millionaire. Millie’s school are giving her an(other) award, this time for reading a million words.

Experts at Blackfen School for Girls library have estimated that all the books she’s borrowed contain more than a million words, hence “Reading Millionaire”.

As parents who are big on reading, the Lovely Melanie and I think this is marvellous; we’re both really proud of her – and Millie’s quite pleased, too!

I became a writer because of my childhood love of reading. My mum is a reader, too, and she encouraged it in all of her boys from an early age, so that we all became big readers as a result.

A vivid memory of my childhood is my first ever trip to the library in Swindon. It was the library in Upper Stratton, so I couldn’t have been more than three years old. I don’t remember the inside at all, but I do remember Mum parked the car outside this cavernous building and I came out with two books: one was about a train, and was illustrated in black and white with highlights of red in all the pictures.

StrattonLibraryWe moved soon afterwards so I don’t remember going back until quite a few years later, when this cavernous cathedral of knowledge seemed to have shrunk quite a lot.

To this.

Even now, it’s still a cathedral of knowledge for me…just not quite as cavernous.

Growing up, I read my way through the small library in Church Walk North, near where we lived in Swindon: they introduced me to to Hugh Walters, to Willard Price, to Tintin, to Asterix, to Arthur C. Clarke, Harry Harrison, and far, far, far more.

Before I was quite done with the fiction I discovered the non-fiction section, which was just as eye-opening: I read the nerdish-ly technical books on aeroplanes, spaceships, submarines, astronomy and all the other sciences just the same as I’d read through the fiction!

I wanted to know everything!

One day my mum gave me one of her adult library tickets, unleashing me upon the adult section – primarily the science fiction section, which I tore my way through.

So, it was , arguably, libraries which made me.

I wish I could say I later discovered Shakespeare and Dickens and the Brontes at the library, but science fiction and non-fiction were the whole of my reading world almost until I left school and went to do A-levels.

But that’s another story…

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