Books and Dogs

I watched my mother as she slowly began to lose her eyesight and then her concentration. I remember going to the library every week to change books and the books that sat by her chair, watching the book mark slowly move through the pages until it was placed on the table, a note to say which book she had read and whether she liked it or not. I remember taking my daughter into town to change her library books, and my husband taking her on a Friday night to the mobile library for new ones, picking up Fish and Chips on the way home.

My mums’ books were about love affairs and mysteries. If she was in a good mood she would read Agatha Christie and when she was sad she would get the Barbara Cartland books out. My daughter at a loss came to me one day because she was bored and I wondered if I was doing the right thing when I passed her the first Terry Pratchett book, The Colour of Magic. Neither of us have ever looked back. We now talk about the characters as though they were real and we live inside their World with them.

Reading is one of the things that I hope will never change in my life. The second thing is my dog. She isn’t my first dog, I’ve been privileged to be loved by Taurus, Bonny, Bryn and Pippa. Pippa may be old and smelly and a pain but I love her unconditionally and although I know that one day she will die I actually smile when she farts and the room stinks so badly I have to open the window, because whilst she is still being smelly she is still with me.

Books and Dogs go together. On the days when life is just a tad irritating there is nothing more worthwhile than sitting on the sofa, feet up with a good book and my dog by my side.

I’m reading the Belgariad Series at the moment by David Eddings, losing myself in the Sorcery and intrigue and politics of a make-believe mysterious World. It’s not the first time I’ve read them, joining them as they travel through their World standing by their side fighting mud monsters and getting emotionally involved in the love affairs as they develop, crossing my fingers and willing Polgara to be honest with herself about the way she feels toward Durnik, even though I know what is going to happen.

I am a woman that cannot be without her books nor her dog and today is going to be one of those days when I intend to close the door, and dive into a whole different World where no one else has ever been.

“But I’m sure that others have read the same book.” I hear you say.

“Yes they have.” In fact when I first met Mark it was like a second hand book fair in our new home together. We had a number of books the same, the Belgariad being one of those series of which we had two of every volume. But he has never read my book, he has never been in my World of The Belgariad, he has never seen what I see between the lines and in the words. When I close the door and open the pages, they take me to a different place. A place where you, nor he, nor any other has ever been.

Mandy and I have always talked about the Wyrd sisters and Rincewind as if they were people we knew and had spent time with. She named her cat after Greebo, and I have always thought of myself as being a champion of Nanny Ogg. Her cookbook stands on my book shelf and I have tried several of the recipes. Much as I have tried those of Mary Berry and Delia Smith. To me she is a s real as they are.

When they made Soul Music into a film I missed it, but then they made Wyrd Sisters and there they were all the characters that I had lived with. Suddenly they weren’t quite the same and I realised that they weren’t the people from my DiskWorld.

You see a book, if written well doesn’t take you into the authors World it takes you to the World that you create around the story the author writes. A film on the other hand takes you to the World that the filmmaker sees when he reads the book. I confess I watched Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter before I read the books. I’ve read The Hobbit, but it just wasn’t right. I’ve read the first Harry Potter and I think I’ll leave the rest where they sit, I prefer the films.

So today when I sit with my feet up, book in hand, tea on the table and dog by my side I will be somewhere else. Mark will ask where I have got to and he will talk about the scene I’m reading about, but I know that was his World and not mine. My World belongs to me in my imagination, no one else. I just hope that no one ever tries to take that away from me. I really hope they don’t try to make it into a film, I mean look what they did to the Shannara Chronicles!

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