Reading and writing go hand in hand, and there is nothing like sitting down with a good book and getting lost in another world. I can enjoy reading almost anywhere, but some favourite places might be under the shade of a tree on a hot day, curled up on a comfy chair beside the window as the rain drums against the glass, or beside the fire on a cold, wintry day. Or in the mysterious quiet of the library. Just add book.
So what sort of books do I enjoy reading? Like the rest of the family I grew up in, it’s almost a case of ‘see book and read’... but not quite. I’m not fond of the gruesome or the truly horrific. My own imagination is way too vivid.
My favourite genre is definitely Fantasy, ever since I was given a copy of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis to read when I was about nine or ten. I read my way through the whole Narnia series, borrowing one after the other in quick succession from my local library in Shrewsbury. Later, I bought myself a boxed set, which I lent to a friend and never saw again. I guess that she loved the stories, too.
I still count Narnia as my favourite fantasy world, although I did become delightfully lost in Middle Earth (JRR Tolkien), too, and very soon after that discovered Earthsea (Ursula Le Guin).
Another absolute favourite world to escape to is the Discworld (Terry Pratchett), and I have several shelves now devoted to tales about Sam Vines and the Watch, Granny Weatherwax and the witches of Lancre, Rincewind and the other wizards at Unseen University, Death, Moist Von Lipwig, and Tiffany Aching, a young witch from the Chalk. Most recently, I’ve travelled with Mrs Georgina Bradshaw on the Ankh-Morpork & Sto-Plains Hygienic Railway, and... anyway, I do enjoy a trip to the Discworld.
Other worlds I visit are Cornelia Funke’s creations – starting with the world of Inkheart, but being totally enchanted by Reckless. Kate Forsyth has created a few worlds for me to get lost in, too. Favourite books include The Puzzle Ring, The Starthorn Tree, and the Chain of Charms series.
I love Magic Beach by Alison Lester, as well, where there are lots of adventures to be had.
The list of fantasy books on my shelves goes on to include Anthony Horowitz’s Power of Five series, Lian Tanner’s Keepers series, Felicity Pulman’s Janna books, and Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier, and that’s just to name a few. There are lots more, but I’ve got to stop somewhere.
Right now I’m reading a book by new author, Alexander Maskill, called The Hive Construct, which might appeal to Young Adult readers and beyond. I’m not a long way into the story as yet, but so far, so good. I’ll let you know.
I'm always buying books - I'm a bit of a collector, in case you hadn't guessed - but there's one in particular that I'm getting very excited about. I'm not sure yet when it's going to arrive, but it's due out in 2015 and it's called Me and the Dra... oh, but that would be telling...