When my oldest son was 10 or 11 he was due to go on a long coach journey with the Ice Hockey Club. On the way to dropping him off, he gave me a sudden panicked look. ‘Can we stop at the library? I haven’t got a book.’ My first reaction was to say, ‘Do you really need a book, you’ll have lots of friends to chat to.’ But I didn’t. I took him to the library where he chose a couple of books (I seem to remember one was an Alan Garner) and he was happy. And I could understand why.
Books aren’t an alternative to friends, but for some people they are just as essential. They’re good to have, and good to have with you. They are somewhere to escape to, they entertain you, enlarge your understanding. They can be returned to again and again. They are reliable. I was going to say they never change, but that isn’t true. The book might not change but what you get out of it certainly does.
Without books I could probably have been happy. But with them I am happier still. Here’s to novels – the reading and writing of them. The pic is one wall of our sitting room - it makes me smile just to see it!