It seems to me that I don’t write enough about books—which is odd because reading is one of my greatest pleasures, and has been so ever since I was taught reading by a certain Miss Johnston in St.Gerard’s School, Bray, Co. Wicklow, Ireland.
There is a back-story to how I learned to read. When I was sent to boarding-school at the tender age of five and a few months—way too young, but my mother could not handle me—few people realized my age, and it was generally assumed I was just small but could read. After all, the normal admission age was about eight and a half, and by that age every pupil normally could.
I couldn’t read because I had never been taught. Believe it or not, this lack of such a fundamental academic survival skill was not spotted for about a term (which says a lot about St. Gerards) but then Miss Johnston shrieked and revealed all (about reading).
Actually, she also said I was so cuddly (remember I was only five) that she would love to climb into my bed and hug me—and thereafter I lay there in dread every night, for some time, fearing she would make good on her wish. Eventually someone did climb into my bed, as I lay there petrified, but it was only another boy, all of nine, a habitual sleep-walker who was prone to wander—and, fortunately, he moved on after a few minutes.
Eventually (on another occasion) he wandered out onto the fire escape, fell about fifteen feet onto a compost heap, and I think that cured him.
But I digress. The point is that Miss Johnson taught me to read and thereafter I was seldom to be found without a book or two at hand. And over 64 years later, I haven't changed.
So aren’t I writing more about books? I think because currently I’m reading some very serious stuff and haven’t yet reached the stage where I want to comment. As with a python, I take the process of digestion seriously so take my time.
But I do wish to bring Barry Eisler to your attention, He has an excellent and very generous web site at www.BarryEisler.com and is well worth your attention. He writes good escapist stuff—and was a former CIA operative.