Time for another round of TTT, hosted by the lovely ladies over at The Broke and the Bookish!
I love this week's prompt. For me it's a reminder that there's so much more to our love of reading than the books themselves. Reading a book is an entire experience, and it can be shaped as much by where we are, who we're with and what the weather's like, as by the title we happen to have in our hands at the time. Some of these memories don't involve a particular book at all, but have still stuck firmly in my mind as some of my favourites, exuding warmth and a kind of bookish aura all their own. I'm really looking forward to reading other people's entries this week and sharing all these amazing moments! I'm sure I've missed a few on my own list, but here we go, in no order whatsoever:
1. Reading in my bunk at the caravan. My uncle, auntie and grandparents used to share-own a static caravan up at Craiglwyd Hall, near Conwy, North Wales, and we went regularly as children. I loved it - the sheep roaming the site, playing swingball outside on the grass, making friends with other holidaying kids, going down to Penmaenmawr to eat chips and skim stones... But one of my FAVOURITE things was reading on my little bunk, with the rain hammering on the roof (such a beautiful sound!) and the scent of toast still lingering in the air from teatime. If I remember rightly, these books were about 95% Famous Five and Secret Seven novels - I was an absolute Blyton addict!
2. Reading The Dice Man at Lake Garda. I'd picked the book up at the airport on the way there; I knew nothing about it, and was probably too young for it, but the synopsis appealed to me so I bought it anyway. Within a few pages I was absolutely hooked on the premise - a guy who begins to use a dice to determine his actions, and becomes more and more depraved in the process. It was absolutely delicious to be reading something so scandalous and shocking on a sunlounger in the hot Italian sun, occasionally taking a break to idly watch the boats on the lake or cool off in the pool. Heaven.
3. Hedwig's Theme enlivening my book shopping experience. I was wandering around a branch of Waterstones ahead of the release of one of the Harry Potter books - I think it must have been The Goblet of Fire? At some point I recognised a familiar theme playing over the music system, but couldn't quite place it. When I finally twigged that it was Hedwig's Theme a chill went down my spine, I got a wave of goosebumps, and I suddenly realised that the black cloth-covered 'tables' I'd drifted past were in fact great heaps of boxes of the new book, just waiting to be opened. This was after the first movie came out, before the mega-security that had to be put in place with the last installments, and they were RIGHT THERE. It was so exciting! Of course, I stayed in the shop until the music finished, and looking back, I think that was the moment I stepped up and took my place as one of the Potter generation. :)
4. Reading my way to Cornwall. Or Dorset. Or Devon. Anywhere far away, basically. When I was little I never used to feel even remotely queasy in the car, and an eight-hour journey to a distant seaside location was an adventure, not a drag. I'd get snuggled up in the back seat with a pillow and my ragdoll, the seat pocket in front of me crammed with as many books as possible, and basically just read and listen to music all the way. Once again, Enid Blyton was a favourite - maybe the Malory Towers series - and I usually had a handful of Animal Ark books too. We'd stop for a yummy meal at a Little Chef or a McDonalds - a HUGE treat in those days - and Mum would buy bags of chocolate eclair sweets and pack a box of biscuits for the car. The only downside was that Hannah always got carsick unless she slept, regardless of what medication she'd taken - maybe getting splattered on a regular basis was where my emetophobia started! :(
5. Dad taking me to Scarthin for my birthday. Prior to opening our bookshop, my friends and I used to refer to Scarthin Books, a few minutes away in Cromford, as 'The Bookshop of Dreams'. It has three floors crammed to the rafters with books, and as teens my friend and I regularly spent a large chunk of a day in there. One year Dad took me there for my birthday - I spent hours scouring the whole place top to bottom, before taking a break for tea and chocolate cake in the cafe on the second floor. After that we walked round a second time and I got to choose a bunch of books to take away as my birthday gifts. Seriously, could a book fiend ask for a better birthday treat?!
6. Thunderbolts and libraries. One very wet day I set out from Fairfax House, our off-campus mansion thingy in York, heading for the library - and walked straight into a thunderstorm. Twenty slightly shaky minutes later (I had a lot of trees to walk under, okay!) I was sitting safely in the library up on the hillside, steaming wet from the rain, watching the deep purple clouds hanging over the campus below me, lightning flashing incessantly. Surrounded by a neat little pool of lamplight, with a heap of books in front of me and an illicit drink on my desk, I felt so completely cozy and ready to work, like this was absolutely where I was meant to be. It was almost surreal, actually - it was such a delicious feeling!
7. Bunking off school... to go book shopping. When I was in the sixth form, routinely suffering manic episodes laced with misery, I had my fair share of days where I just couldn't bear to be in school for another minute, and my friend and I would walk down into town instead. One particularly memorable afternoon (I don't remember if it was a legit free period or not) we managed to go round all seven charity shops in town in one big circuit. As usual, she scoured the bric-a-brac and jewellery and clothes; I picked at the rails and browsed the bookshelves. That day I bought seventeen books, she bought some new clothes, we both bought a handful of knicknacks, then we picked up up fresh sandwiches from our favourite shop and got a taxi home because we couldn't carry our bags. It was flippin' brilliant. :)
8. Library visits as agoraphobia therapy. For a big chunk of my agoraphobia recovery, I really struggled to go beyond a fifteen-minute radius of home. Finally, one winter day, Mum suggested that we go to Chesterfield, about 20 minutes away. To make it easier, she promised we wouldn't have to go round lots of busy shops - instead we'd spend the time in the huge library there. I'd not been in there in years, or even to Chesterfield itself in a couple. I needn't have been afraid. The only way I can describe the feeling of walking through that door is that it was like coming home. It's such a big place, with three floors of books to browse, but it didn't overface me at all. I spent a couple of happy hours in there and staggered away triumphant with sixteen books crammed into two canvas bags. I think this premise formed the backbone of a couple more trips to town, and I got more confident each time, going to a couple more shops each time before I hit the library, and even going for lunch. It was such a wonderful feeling!
9. Meeting some of my girls. First Jess (Jess Hearts Books) and Rachel (Ray Reads/In the Library of Lady Violet) visited, during their Book-Hauling Trip of Awesome a couple of years ago. They returned a few months later, and we spent a mad hour or so perched in the office, surrounded by books, holding an impromptu book swap and poring over Mockingjay, which had just arrived in the post. Then, around my birthday, it was Hanna's (Booking in Heels) turn to come a-visiting! The second time she came, we threw in some book shopping, tea 'n' cake and lots of chatter for extra awesomeness. And THEN Rachel moved closer and now comes fairly regularly to sit and chat and browse and generally save me from the weekend crowd by being nice and talking books for an hour or two. SO MUCH FUN! Now I've just got to meet Bex (An Armchair by the Sea), Charlotte (Lit Addicted Brit) and Laura (Devouring Texts) and my life will be complete...
Those are MY top ten bookish memories - do you have any favourites to share? And as always, if you've posted a TTT then feel free to leave your link in the comments!