The theme of this week's Corner View is Books. Paul Theroux wrote in one of my all-time favourite travel books, The Great Railway Bazaar, "I can never watch a train go by without wishing I was on it"; I, on the other hand, can never walk past a bookshop without wishing I was in it. I have had a love of books since my uncle first taught me to read. Yes, I can remember vividly the actual day I learned to read; when all of those confusing letters, dots and pattterns suddenly fell into place for me and conveyed meaning. From that day on I was hooked. By the age of twelve I had exhausted school books, and was working my way through the local library, where I embarked on reading the complete works of every great writer I had ever heard of, including my two favourites at that time : Graham Greene and John Steinbeck.
It was there in that small town library I first encountered the travel books which were to have such a great influence on the rest of my life, including what still remains my favourite book ( I have read it twelve times): As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee. I always feel sad when one of my favourite writers dies because it means he will never write another book, but I felt a particular sadness when Laurie Lee passed away because I always hoped that I would meet him one day and thank him for writing such wonderful books.
In the photos above you can see what I have been reading lately, and my kitten, Sid, who loves paper and looks like he has just sprung to life from the cover of Kafka on the Shore. I actually found him outside a supermarket pushing a ball of paper around, picked him up, took him home, and now we share a love of the printed page. Coincidentally, the uncle who taught me to read was also called Sid, but to be honest that's not the reason why we gave our kitten that name. For a long time we just couldn't think of a suitable name for him, but every time he did something naughty, my wife shouted something at him which sounded a bit like Sid. So, now that he has a name, instead of telling him, "You are sh@t, she can say, "You are Sid," which to my ear sounds much better.
Visit the other Corner view bloggers to find out what they've been reading:
I have/had two big ambitions: the first to travel to 100 countries and live in 20 of them; the second to become a full-time writer.
Last year, I visited my 106th country: Rwanda. Countries I've lived in recently include South Korea, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Romania, Oman and, lastly, Egypt, which is the nineteenth country I've worked in.