Sometimes, a title comes to me, and I know I have to use it. I’ll bung it down in the notebook, waiting for a point at which I can write about it. And following a holiday to a house whose inhabitants love books just as much as Dan and I, it seems a suitable time.
A reading rat – Leseratte – is the German equivalent to a bookworm. It was featured on a set of postcards from the Goethe Institut – they know how to do their advertising, I have to say. I sent it over to D, who is interested in German at the moment, and rediscovered it in a book, while we were over visiting them.
Shame in a way to choose rats and worms for such things – here are these wonderful things, books, and our way to talk about people who like them is to relate them to animals which are often the source of fear or disgust. My guess is that there’s probably some implied reference to devouring anything, which probably is true of serious book dependency after a while.
An alternative might be to talk about book fever – the illness that besets one when discovering just how addictive books are. I’m not just talking ‘can’t put them down’ thrillers. Even Enid Blyton can hit that craving button, when you are six or seven, and there just aren’t enough hours in the night to read. Talk about reading yourself into an early pair of glasses, as I did.
They warn you about sweet shops, and fast food stores, but libraries are pushers too. Want one? Why not take six? In fact, read three in the first day, take them back, and take out another six in addition to the ones you’ve not started yet.
This visit to Italy, both the older girls were getting stuck into books. The younger of the two is into Geronimo Stilton, mouse detective, whom I can only hope will get translated into English at some point. The cartoons that go with it are certainly fun.
And I remember my discovery of Asterix at a previous age. The one thing better than a really good read is the discovery that you’ve only just started the series, and that they are still writing more…
These days, it’s getting harder to let animal instinct take over when it comes to reading. Time is shorter, and I find that I read several shorter things, rather than start a longer one and have to stop.
I quite fancy the idea of being some kind of reading polar bear – take on enough books to see you through the winter, in the way that they take on enough food supplies to keep going, and then dig yourself into a nice snowdrift (or equivalent) for a few months.
If only they’d let you stay in bed to read during the winter, rather than going to work, I’m sure we could all achieve fuel efficiency too, because we’d still be warm enough.
If there’s any readers who can comment on what imagery is used for voracious book reading in other languages, would be interested to know. Next week, magazine locusts…