Again, this is an ambition post but there’s something about that little orange flag and the dream of screenshotting the thing before it disappears into obscurity, that keeps me writing things down.
In my book club, we’ve recently started reading a novel which has a sticker on the top left corner of cover. It has sold over two million copies. I want that sticker. Not because of the money, although I don’t suppose anyone would turn it down, but because that would mean being on two million book shelves, being read by two million people when the TV loses reception, being on the reading list for several hundred thousand book clubs. That would be sweet.
And it’s with this book from my reading group that I’ve started reading aloud again. It’s a strange thing. When we learn to read, we do so out loud, and gradually, we learn to read silently, without moving our mouths. Hopefully this happens quite early on. But then – what happens? Absolutely nothing. We keep reading, each of us, silently, inside our heads, seeing what the author sees, but very much within.
Perhaps we read aloud, with some embarrassment and awkwardness, in classrooms until we leave school, but after that – back inside the brain. I used to read out loud to my mother. Her eyesight was failing but she loved all kinds of literature, and she missed it.
But, in her absence, I haven’t read out loud at all. Until now.
Now, I am reading a novel to my Pumpkin. The fact that it puts her straight to sleep is no indication of the novel’s quality, nor of whether that ‘Two Million Copies Sold’ sticker is really justified. I’m getting myself back into the habit because I’m going to record the talking book. Hold your horses, and contain your perfectly understandable excitement – it’s going to take me a couple of weeks, but there will be an audiobook.
In the meantime, tonight, I will raise a glass to my books, and the stickers and tags to come.