Taking Stock - March 5, 2012

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Anyone with little ones, or indeed grand sprogs, will probably know last week we celebrated World Book Day.

And there was plenty of encouragement out there to get our youngsters away from the X Station and into a good story.

Thanks to the twins eating her voucher, The Munchkin wasn’t able to cash in on a shiny new addition to her library, but thankfully she’s already got plenty of choice in that department.

Bedtime stories are one of the real pleasures of having kids and, now she’s starting to be able to read, book time with The Munchkin is fantastic fun.

It’s also one of the only times I can get my nose into a book.

OK, so stories of snails and whales and the suchlike might not exactly be Dickens or Austen, but you’ve got to be thankful for little pleasures when time is at a premium.

The only other time, these days, I have for reading takes place behind closed doors, and that explains why there’s an increasingly large library building up in our bathroom.

And it has changed my reading habits.

I used to enjoy being challenged by a book.

I’ve tried my best to understand Virginia Woolf, and enjoy the ramblings of James Joyce.

Nowadays, I’ve got more of a fast food approach to culture – not just confined to reading.

Stick some music on and, instead of listening to an album from beginning to end, I just want to hear my favourite tunes – with only limited time it’s got to be all killer, no filler.

At the movies, I’d probably plump for the laugh-a-minute madness of The Muppets over something more cerebral.

It all screams that I don’t have time to think, I just want to be entertained.

I suppose it explains why, on my bookshelf, Nick Hornby and Jeremy Clarkson share a shelf with Joseph Conrad and the Bronte sisters.

Maybe it also explains why I have so much fun reading with The Munchkin, even if doing the voice for The Gruffalo does give me a sore throat.

And I’m looking forward to her getting bigger; when we can read together the books which made me fall in love with the written word.

Beatrix Potter for a start, then Roald Dahl, oh and the ever-so-British adventures of those youngsters in Swallows and Amazons.

The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe and, if you must, Harry Potter are treats she has in store and I’m sure there’ll be plenty more in between.

I just hope she takes the chance, while she can, to get the most out of reading when she’s young – before life takes over.