Books have always been an integral part of my life ever since I learned to read, which admittedly was later than some of my peers, which I have aways put down to my complete lack of interest in the School Reading scheme of the time. I maintain that having an engaging source material is essential on that front, it is also why I was, and still am, wildly sceptical of the wide read part of the English GCSE syllabus. The forcing of students to read books like Jude the Obscure, Don Quixote, Middlemarch, or Wuthering Heights is hardly going to lure readers in. Particularly as a number of those text mentions are a bit what my mother would call “girly stories”. Broadening horizons is one thing but I do believe it needs to addresed differently. Short of Mark Twain, HG Wells, and Jules Verne I didn’t really pick up any “classics” until my late 20s when I picked up The Illiad and The Odyssey, which came to my general interest not by a drilled in sense to read classic literature, but by an audio reading by Stephen Thorne of Donald Cotton’s novelisation of his Doctor Who serial “The Myth Makers”, which is about the fall of Troy, told from the point of view of the poet Homer, whom throughout course of the narrative loses both his eyes. The novelisation has wonderful chapter titles like “Small Prophet, Quick Return” and “Doctor in the Horse”. Thorne makes some interesting voicing decisions, making giving Odyssius a bizarre Somerset farmer accent and portraying the King of Sparta as Charles Hawtery. However it peaked my interest to read the nearly impenetrable tomes by Homer, and later Virgil’s Aneid.

A number of penguin classics stock my shelves, but most of my books are nonsense and potboilers. I have read nearly all of Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlow books, and have a number of “boys own adventure” type books like The Riddle of the Sands, The 39 Steps, The Man Who Was Thursday and way too many to list Doctor Who stories.

I feel no need to justify my reading habits to anyone, reading should be a fun activity, not a chore.

Ragtag Daily Prompt: Book


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