If I'm feeling down, a visit to the bookstore usually cheers me up. But not my husband - when I come home laden with new books, all he feels is burdened with the knowledge that he's going to have to build another bookcase.
My grandfather was responsible for my love of books and reading. One of my earliest memories is of sitting at their dining table, 'reading' a large Andy Pandy picture book, the kind with a big picture and a few small sentences on each page. I knew it off by heart so it wasn't really reading. And I was VERY young. But one day there was a visitor. And my grandfather wanted to show off my supposed skill. Out came the book. A table was pulled up to the sofa. I remember kneeling on the sofa and starting to 'read'. The visitor, clearly a man not to be trifled with ( remember I was way too young to be able to read), stopped me and took the book away. He put it back in front of me, with a paper covering the picture, and said, "Now read it." I remember ( it makes me feel excited even now) looking at the words and realising that I could indeed READ them. I didn't need pictures. I didnt need memory. I could read. Anything.
Then I understood why my grandparents' bedroom walls were made of books. There was magic. Everywhere! And that excitement has never gone away.
"To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for oneself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life." Somerset Maugham. That was printed on an old broken bookmark in the only book I managed to salvage from my grandfather's vast collection after his death.
I collect bookmarks too.