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SA Partridge

@ Sunday Times Books LIVE

Happy World Book Day

I think its safe to say that there are two types of people in the world. People who like to read and people who don’t. Count me among the former.

Books have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember.

Sitting on the window sill at Jane Austen's house.

Sitting on the window sill at Jane Austen’s house.

As a child I believed there was magic in stories. What else could explain that wonderful feeling of being transported to another world filled with fantastic creatures and characters?

Books took me to Neverland, to follow Peter and the Lost Boys as they battled the pirates. They allowed me to travel up the Faraway Tree to visit Moonface and his friends.

Even as I got older books never lost their magic. I remember sitting in my room for days completely mesmerised by the goings on in Middle Earth. As Gandalf galloped towards Gondor, my heart would thump along with Shadowfax’s hooves. I’d chew my lip, wondering, hoping that he got there in time.

Here’s a little known fact. My primary school aptitude test recommended I become a librarian. No surprises there.

As a teenager, summertime was characterised by long afternoons spent reading the Agatha Christie paperbacks my Mom used to find at jumble sales and church fetes. Matric was the year I finally finished Bram Stoker’s Dracula. A feat I was, and still am, really chuffed about.

When I started working I would read on the bus. I don’t remember what I did for those eight hours in the office, but I do remember Mariah Mundi racing through the fog-lit harbor streets trying to escape his pursuers in GP Taylor’s Mariah Mundi and the Midas Box.

Reading Pride & Prejudice on the train to Brighton

Reading Pride & Prejudice on the train to Brighton

My first paycheck was spent entirely on Terry Pratchett novels. And my second, and my third. Years later I took a casual job at Exclusive Books so I could use the staff discount.

A blog about books wouldn’t be complete without a mention of The Boy Who Lived. Like many fans, I had the best time standing in the midnight queues for the last three Harry Potter novels and I finished all of them before morning. I’ve read Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire twenty-three times and I still get goosebumps every time Dumbledore pulls Harry’s name out of the fire.

I still re-read them.

Leaving my parent’s house was a big moment for me. When I moved into my first apartment I didn’t have any furniture, but I had about ten boxes of books, which I refused to leave behind. Today finding a spot in my apartment for a new book is a very real problem.

During my first trip to England I insisted on visiting Platform nine and three quarters in London. On my second trip I went to visit the homes where Jane Austen and Virginia Woolf lived. When I travel again the first thing I’ll do is Google search literary attractions in the area.

When I’m not reading books I write them. I can’t imagine my life without them.

So Happy World Book Day. My blessing to you is that you find as much joy in books as I have.

 

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