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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

In synch with writing

In my previous blog I spoke about the symbiotic relationship between reading and writing. I've never heard of a writer who didn't also like to read. There are so many books out there. What to read, what to ignore, what to aspire to read someday? Weighty questions indeed.

Since I was a child growing up in India, I read a lot of Nancy Drew books along with my staple diet of Agatha Christie and Enid Blyton. Our school librarian knew me well enough and always had an indulgent expression as I signed out book after book. I read at great speed,devouring them, as if afraid someone would take them away from me.

My fear wasn't totally unfounded though - if my mother caught me reading books while I was supposed to be learning about the responsibilities of municipal governments or even parts of a flower, I would be in trouble. But how sweet those hours of slipping away into another land where such mundane tasks as homework never existed!

Nowadays I guess few people read, or have even heard of, Enid Blyton. I was a huge fan of her fairy stories at first, and then of course, her Secret Seven and Famous Five series. How I longed to be transported to a boarding school like Malory Towers!

I graduated to Nancy Drew, with her forthright American ways, a harbinger of the type of take-charge role model. The way she solved mysteries, the endless 'cool' factor that endeared her to so many generations of readers - all these resonated strongly with me.

Hitting teenage, I took a shine to soppy romance novels for a while. Mills and Boon became an obsession with me. Though not wholly satisfied with the writing, the lure of exotic locales had me hooked for a while. But that romance didn't last very long since I grew impatient with the tame happy endings and swooning heroines. To be truthful, I felt like slapping sense into some of them at times.

I became a serious reader after school. The classics beckoned and who could resist Dickens or Emily Bronte? Not me, and I fell into those books and allowed myself to be swept away time and again. I learned how language worked, how pictures were formed, how suspense was communicated.

Much later in life, my reading habit has only strenghtened. I read non fiction as well. And am getting through children's literature pretty easily. I love historical novels too.

Now I am writing a YA novel about Meg and Will, Home Children who came to Canada in 1900.


  1. Didi, as ur friend said reading ur blog is always a treat and this too is not an exception. I liked the way u represented urself as an avid reader and the way way our taste differs as we grow up from a the pages of fairy tales to the complexities of human tangles.

  2. Very well written, Moushumi. Brought back tons of my own childhood memories!!