It’s been a while since we’ve had a Books Spark Joy post but this week’s guest is one worth waiting for! Historical fiction author Emily Madden’s love of books started at a young age. Nothing has changed – she rarely leaves a bookstore without a book and I can testify to that – Emily and I were both at the pop-up bookstore in Millthorpe last week and she definitely had a stack of books in hand! While she reads anything and everything, stories that touch the heart and uplift the soul are what she loves the most. Emily lives in Sydney, with her two girls and husband. She loves coffee and is forever frequenting her local coffee haunts. She has an unnatural obsession with needing to be close to the ocean, but is terrified of deep water.
Over to Emily …
When I was growing up, I would go shopping with my mother, just so I could score a book. My mum would shop weekly at a local shopping centre and there was a Kmart within the complex. My mum knew she could leave me, go about gathering all she needed, and I knew that once she was done, she would come and collect me and buy me at least one book.
My love affair with books and the joy they brought me started from a young age. One of my favourite childhood books was EB White’s Charlotte’s Web. I cried a bucket when Charlotte died. Five years ago, while in New York I found a beautiful hardback copy of the book and bought it for my then seven-year-old daughter. I loved reliving the magic of the book and the wonderful friendship between Charlotte and Wilbur and yes, I cried a bucket again, perhaps even more re reading it with my little girl.
One of my primary school teachers introduced me to Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. While I loved them all – my favourite had to be Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume. It was my first young adult book and when I found it at a bookstore a few years back, I nabbed it. My daughter is almost 12, the same age I was when I read it, I wonder if she’d enjoy it as much too?
My house is full of books – I have two “main” areas a beautiful mid-century bookshelf where I write, as well as another bookshelf in our garage but really, there isn’t a flat surface in my house that’s NOT covered with a book or two (or three or four). I have a constant urge to be surrounded by books. If I don’t have physical book on my person, I have my kindle. I don’t read digital all that much, but for travel and on the go, it’s perfect. I love the immediacy digital books give me, but I also love the feel of a real book.
For me I read (and write) for escapism. As I child I was a terrible sleeper and to help me fall asleep I would make up stories, imagining the characters, conversations and scenes in my head.
Lately, I have started listening to audio books and more often than not, I will alternate between reading the paperback or digital copy and listening to the audio book. I love the depth that a wonderful narrator can add to a story, they can truly bring characters to life (and help me forget what a shambles Sydney traffic is!).
Only a book can give you true escapism and while there are times I may not read as much as I would like to, there is nothing more wonderful than curling up and getting lost in a world that someone has created. For some they are words on a page, for me books are like air. I can’t live without them.