Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

April 23, 2012

Why do I read? World Book Night 2012

Tonight is World Book Night, 2012 when a million books will be given away for free to spread the joy and love of reading. April 23 is a symbolic date for world literature. It is both the birth and death day of Shakespeare, as well as the death day of Cervantes, the great Spanish novelist. It is in their honour that UNESCO appointed it the international day of the book and that we choose it to celebrate World Book Night. 

As one of 20,000 volunteers who are distributing copies of the specially selected 'World Book Night' books, I clearly love reading. But why? What do I read and why do I pick up those books and forget about everything else as I immerse myself in their wonderful stories?

For me, I read, quite simply, for pleasure. I read to immerse myself in lives, situations and events I haven't experienced - or possibly even considered - before. I read to broaden my perspective on life and to learn about parts of our history which I know nothing about. I also read to learn from the experts, and to improve my own writing. And despite having recently published my first novel on Kindle, I have to admit to being a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to good old-fashioned paper books and bookshops (which I'd much rather spend time in than a shoe shop).

Any glance at my bookshelves will tell you that I enjoy historical fiction (Phillipa Gregory, Sarah Waters, Tracy Chevalier and Rose Tremain featuring several times), and the classics (the Brontes and Jane Austin particularly). As an A' Level English Literature student, an appreciation of the Classics was drummed into me at an influential age - I didn't resist; I loved them! However, I'd also like to think that I have a broad range of tastes when it comes to literature, having read - and enjoyed in the last ten years or so - everything from Bridget Jones's Diary to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime to The Road and most recently, two brilliant new books The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and The Light Between Oceans.

Ultimately, I like the books I read to challenge me emotionally; I want to feel invested in the characters and to really care about what happens to them. I don't want to be terrified, but I enjoy the occasional paranormal influence. I don't want to be reaching for the dictionary every few words, but I do love the language used in books and I appreciate the way a book is written, as much as the story the words portray. I like to be surprised by a plot twist I didn't see coming (Sarah Water's 'Fingersmith' being a particularly memorable one) and I want to feel sad when I read the final page - purely because I have enjoyed the book so much, I don't want it to end.

Why do you read? Escapism? Entertainment? Education? 

For me, a love of reading is also one of the most important things you can teach your children. I read from a young age and I'm so proud when I hear my six year old reading to himself and his little brother. I know what an amazing world of books is out there just waiting for him to discover - and that's exciting.

I will be giving away my World Book Night books to the hardworking shopkeepers in the local community: butchers, florists, greengrocers, bakers, hairdressers and the pub landlord. Whether they are already avid readers, or not, I truly hope that they enjoy the book and that they will pass it onto someone else when they have finished with it, to continue to spread the joy of reading.

Below I have provided some information on the book I selected to give away tonight. For more information on World Book Night visit or follow the events on Twitter @WorldBookNight

Happy reading!

Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again ...Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Life begins to look very bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding Mrs Danvers ...Not since Jane Eyre has a heroine faced such difficulty with the Other Woman. An international bestseller that has never gone out of print, Rebecca is the haunting story of a young girl consumed by love and the struggle to find her identity.



  1. Congratulations on the book!!!! Well done you that's amazing!! I 've just written a post about my own love of books and I'm taking part in world book night by reading "The Road." Your right seeing your children reading and enjoying it has to be one of the best feelings in the world, I have so many books on standby waiting for them to explore once they've hit their teens.

  2. I just finished your book, "The Girl Who Came Home" and really liked it. I almost felt like I was on the Titanic with them. And loved the surprise ending.

  3. Bricks Austin and Pavers Austin is one of the simple processes to increase the aestheticn beauty of home and garden as well as everyone can get some knowledge about titanic incident.

    1. Re world book review piece, how very democratic of you to pass on books to the green grocer and publican. I guess you patronizingly presumed that the doctor, lawyer and engineer would have books galore and wouldn't need the benefit of your largesse.

  4. Hi! I found your blog through and am now following.

    I currently live in Hong Kong, and I'm not sure that World Book Night made it here. I'll look into it. I think you made a great choice - I love Rebecca!

    I love reading too and have a blog with weekly book reviews, items about living in Hong Kong and flash fiction. If you have time, please take a look.
    - Laura


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