Why reading makes me happy

Recently I posted this photo of my bedroom bookshelf on Facebook, with the words “survival kit – books waiting to be read!” This is by no means the only books in my home. I have them on my bedside table, in the living room, in my office cum guest room, in the kitchen (although those are mainly cookery books), on the landing. Basically there are books everywhere. Books, books, books – why do I have so many?

Bedroom bookshelfBecause they’re like old friends, and they make me happy. Or more specifically, reading makes me happy, not forgetting other sources such as the e-books I have on my e-reader, library books, and the ones friends recommend and let me borrow from time to time. It’s not necessarily about owning a physical book but about having access to what’s inside it – the story.

As an adolescent I would devour one title after the other (plus, ahem, Marvel magazines…) and quickly ended up reading everything on my own shelves at least twice. I would then spend hours at our local library (back when our small village still had one!), often sitting on the floor cocooned by the richness around me. I read my way through the children’s classics among others “Charlotte’s Web” and “The Railway Children”, then graduated to romances and authors such as Barbara Cartland, Victoria Holt, and Mary Stewart, and afterwards to grittier books by e.g. Charles Dickens, Elizabeth Gaskell and Raymond Chandler, as well as Jane Austen and the Brontës.

I like to think that my reading tastes are varied and eclectic, not allowing particular genres and styles to restrict me. The contents of my bookshelf is an illustration of this – here’s everything from crime [Dick Francis], romance [Fiona Harper], historical [Jenny Barden], epic drama [Madeleine Miller], the literary novel [Patrick Neate], to comedy [Danny Wallace], sci-fi [Connie Willis], young adult [Katherine Marsh], paranormal [Barbara Erskine], gothic [Daphne du Maurier] and fantasy [George R R Martin]. These authors are all ready to take me by the hand and guide me through their own unique and fantastical worlds.

And I can’t wait to join them!

About henriettegyland

USA Today bestselling author, published by One More Chapter Also, a translator, cat slave, guinea pig whisperer, knitter & upcycler, and hygge lover.
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14 Responses to Why reading makes me happy

  1. Janet Gover says:

    I could not agree more!

  2. A life without reading? I just can’t imagine it. Nor a house without books. Great blog, Henri.

  3. Reading is my life, and without it I’d be lost. Which is probably why the novel “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury is my absolute worst nightmare. Brrr!

  4. Liz Harris says:

    I can’t imagine not having a book on the go. I only have time to read for a little while before I go to sleep, or I wouldn’t get down to writing anything myself, both those few minutes are an invaluable part of my day. A book can transport you like nothing else can.

    I began with Enid Blyton – I absolutely loved all of her books, except for Noddy and Big Ears. The school stories, the Famous Five, the Castle, etc. of Adventure – they really got the imagination going.

    Liz X

  5. Melanie Hudson says:

    Singing off the same hymn sheet. Xxx

  6. Me too, Melanie and Henri – tra la la!

  7. beverleyeikli says:

    I love to mix up my reading and rarely read two of the same genre one after the other. Variety is the spice of life, so I guess that’s why books are so dear to me. I have an infinite selection to choose from. You’re not alone, Henri 🙂

    • Beverley – I also tend to vary what I read book by book, and will sometimes go from reading a hard-boiled thriller to a sweet romance, then followed by perhaps sci-fi, family drama, one of the classics etc. Definitely the spice of life, as you say.

  8. I learned to read as a little girl lying at the end of my parents bed reading the Sunday papers…it’s when I started reading aloud from the News of the World that my parents realised they’d opened a whole new world to me! A good book’s always been my place of escape. I’m very much looking forwards to reading your ‘The Highwayman’s Daughter’ – been eager to do so since I saw that cover!

  9. Colm Herron says:

    Captivating telling of your love of reading good books. I started with UK comic books, then US ones that our Chicago cousins sent us, then the Just William books and gradually on to some of the classics. Most moving thing I ever read was The Crucible. I stayed awake all night after reading it.

    • Hello Colm, and welcome to my blog. Talking about comics, I used to read Superman, The Hulk, The Phantom, and countless others the names of which I’ve forgotten now (shameless of me, I know!). I then graduated to Prince Valiant by Hal Forster – I just loved his drawings, and everyone were so beautiful – and afterwards I fell in love with the sci-fi series called Linda & Valentin, by French artists Mezieres and Christin. They’re funny, colourful, romantic, and always with a political message, gently shared. I still collect them 🙂
      The most moving book I’ve ever read is “Passage” by the sci-fi author Connie Willis. It’s about death, but in a hopeful and upbeat way, and it makes me cry every time I re-read it.

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