As we are encouraging you to read more, we have asked some of our authors to discuss how they have used books to inspire themselves and others.
Author Farah Morley talks about travelling far and wide through a summer of reading, and the opportunity books give both children and adults to discover new worlds and explore different cultures.
I would always look forward to the long summer holidays as a kid. It was really all about the chance to go travelling and have adventures. Don’t get me wrong, we were not one of those families that went camping or had flights booked to sandy shores. We didn’t do holidays, unless it was to go see family…not quite the same.
However, that did not limit the potential of each summer for me. Weeks in advance I would earmark a selection of library books, usually with some theme or element that would tie the prose together in my mind. Each volume would be squirrelled away in secret corners of the reference section to be retrieved at the just the perfect time. The day before term ended, the time when the rules of library lending were broken, and the 3 book limit was shunned for being the tyrannical enemy of all book lovers. This was the time, when I would finally haul the gargantuan stack to the counter, glowing with pride at the success of my cunning plan. Indeed it felt like the spoils of war and I the victor. The librarian, tight lipped and knowing, would give me a secret smile in acknowledgement of our shared addiction.
Then the summer would begin. I would travel to India and hear the she wolf fight off a tiger to protect a man cub. I journeyed to Canada where I met a young orphan called Anne who went to live at a cottage called Green Gables. Sometimes, I stumbled in time and space meeting people who had shaped my world, like William Wilberforce or Uri Gagarin. Then to other worlds where luggage ran on many legs and wizards taught at an Unseen University. Oh what a wonderful time I had, and the friends I met along the way each imparted to me a little of themselves. I felt as if I had lived a hundred lives.
Books are the greatest gift that anyone can share, allowing us to glimpse lives and places as yet unknown. When I wrote the Spider and the Doves, I was keenly aware of how our concept of the Hijra is much like the Spider’s, a journey experienced as a story. We get to be part of that narrative only in words and imaginings, and yet it shapes our moral landscape.
When I grew up, and began travelling as an adult, I started to experience books as navigation tools to other cultures. Unifying treads that bind all human experiences in a complex and diverse world. It allowed me to feel less alienated as a traveller so that each place we visited became almost another room in our own home, the planet. I would encourage all who have the gift of being literate and the luxury of obtaining books to use them as keys to unlock our potential to wonder and marvel, and maybe, just maybe if we are lucky, pick up a little wisdom as a keepsake to remember the trip by.
Farah Morley is the author of The Spider and the Doves and Hurayrah the Cat: The Snake Catcher. Both are available from Kube:
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