Greetings, my good bookworms!
This is my 100th post! I almost can’t believe it!
I remember when I first started this book blog, I felt completely and utterly terrified. It was very new to me and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. I thought it would be a miracle if even one person bothered to read my reviews.
But here I am, six months and one hundred posts later. I’ve met amazing people, made new friends, gained hundreds of followers, connected with authors and publishers, discovered brilliant books and shared my bookish passion with the world. So this very special post is about my reading journey, it is a thank you to the people, experiences and books that have gotten me where I am today.
I’d say the main reason I’m such an avid bookworm is my mum. From when I was a very young child, too young to even talk, she used to sit and read books to me for hours on end. As soon as she’d finish one book, I’d run off and bring her another. She read me stories and children’s encyclopaedias about things like animals, space and more. I remember our favourite books were always the Mr Men and Little Misses. We read Mr Clever (who wasn’t actually clever) countless times and we also liked Little Miss Sunshine (who turned Miseryland into Laughterland). She showed me how fun reading can be and taught me the importance of it and it’s something that will always stay with me.
My mum also convinced me that reading to the plants in the garden was vital to their survival and growth so little Umairah would go and sit in the middle of the garden and read very loud so that all of the plants could hear her. Thinking about it now, I find it hilarious that I believed her and no doubt she also found it hilarious at the time. Nevertheless, I love you mum- thank you for everything.
Two-year-old me, having been read to by Mum so many times, decided it was time to give reading a go. I’d pick up a big storybook and drag it with me onto a chair. Then, I’d stare at the words and make unintelligible sounds (as if I were reading aloud) and stare at the pictures, trying to understand what was going on. I did this for hours even though at that time, I still couldn’t actually read.
When I started school, I discovered my new favourites: The Magic Key books. They were about these children who went to different places and time periods using a magic key and I adored them. Later on, when I was around eight, I couldn’t get enough of the Rainbow Magic books about these fairies who were always being troubled by some pesky goblins and I loved anything by Enid Blyton. Particularly, The Faraway Tree, The Wishing Chair and The Famous Five. As you can tell, I’ve been obsessed with all things fantasy for as long as I can remember. I think I read the Harry Potter books when I was ten- I remember feeling very accomplished when I finished that series and I also really enjoyed the Narnia books.
I used to love this book called The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker which was similar to The Princess and the Frog but when the princess kisses the frog, she becomes a frog instead of the frog becoming a prince. I’ve read that book so many times I wouldn’t even know. Another book that I loved as a child was a novel called The Princess and the Captain by Anne-Laure Bondoux. It was so original and it captivated me from the first page. I’d never read anything like it and I still don’t think I have. I reread it a bit later and I still loved it (even though I didn’t appreciate the ending).
As I grew, my reading tastes grew with me and I started to read more advanced and grown-up things. While I did read other genres, fantasy was and has always been my favourite. My teachers at school definitely played a big part in this growth, always pushing me to analyse and evaluate books and texts in innovative ways which helps me with my book reviews.
Furthermore, my friends had a large role in my reading journey. When I was younger I didn’t know anyone who loved reading as much as I did and it made me feel sad not being able to talk about it with other people. Then, a few years ago, I met someone called Melika, who wouldn’t stop raving about how amazing the Throne of Glass series was. Eventually, I relented and decided to read the series and ended up becoming just as obsessed as she was. We’d have (and still have) very long conversations about the series and give each other book recommendations. Now, we’re firm book buddies and I’ve discovered loads of amazing books from her recommendations.
The influence of these people and books culminated in a great passion for books that led me to start this book blog late last year. Now, I’m apart of a giant book community that makes reading such a joy. I get so many brilliant recommendations from so many different places. I get to share my bookish passion with other like-minded people all over the world. Every second of it is wonderful. So, thank you to my teachers, friends, the book community, the authors of all the books that shaped my childhood and most of all thank you to my mum. Thank you for the greatest gift of all, the gift of reading.