Archive for December, 2017

The Reading Habit

Posted in Autobiography, Stories and reviews by Kathy Da Silva, writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2017 by kathydasilva



I guess, that perhaps it is only when we travel on a long journey that we now think of what to read, or when the ever playing TV manages to blow  a fuse, and that Hollywood is given a ‘rest’ for a few days, that a new book gets to being read and absorbed. I happened to be passing through a railway station, when  I noticed a little old fashioned bookcase, that normally would be inside someone’s bedroom or living space was placed in the waiting room. I was at Southampton train station, and on my way back to London. I could not resist a perusal of the rather near empty or scant collection on the shelves. A notice had been placed to advise people to use the ‘free’ donations of book, in a fashion that would mean a healthy supply always being there, but, no one obeys rules right? I also noticed a small tin with a slit in the top with the possibility of a donation being the answer, for use of books, so I donated a small amount of coin, but had no replacement for the one paperback I took to use for a reading book on board the train back to Waterloo. It was a ‘whodunit’ type book, based in the Lake District, among the fells and dales of Windermere and Peaks. New author Rebecca Tope’s The Troutbeck Testimony, starts like a book with a mystery, and rather predictably continues, with the suggestion of the drama within the first few pages, and onward. However, it still meant something to me, to read something about England. Something set in England, in a land and a place I might myself have actually traveled to. Yes a paperback, and not an e-book, though either would have been as satisfying when you are alone and a bit bored. The habit of reading being something under attack lately. I prefer it, if what I am reading catches me in some way, for its style or subject, and sometimes sheer brilliance. Every time Christmas comes round it is as if someone in a rather elevated position of employ selects a suitable family choice of films to cover the holiday period, and yet how often I notice that the same titles repeat almost too frequently, year in year out. The book market is such that the number of books already written and authors seeking new audience, are so many that a person could not run out of options. Stars that shine, however, might vary, and what is elixir for one is perhaps like sour grapes to another. Nothing beats classicism, but, a true original, the type that become of ‘cult’ status, well each year perhaps produces a few hopefuls. I crept backward through time recently to John Steinbeck and some of his titles like To a God Unknown, which to me is one of those trans-fomative story settings, taking you to a land of extremes where drought, and survival of those conditions produce a number of deliberations among the characters, and the cause of which takes them and their livestock, over the hills and into new situations, and therefore dramas, which then flow from that authors pen like oil from a new found seam. And I remember one winter, strolling the beach at Shanklin, beneath the sedimentary soft rocks of sandstone and chalk, with thoughts of the time and period when such things formed, and yet, therein drama can be found, or created. There was a very tiny bar set in among the cliff side, full of friendly people, it was Christmas. Yes there is a reason to feel helped too by seasonal change, as I always find winter the time to write and take in, and absorb.

Being back at Southampton, but, without my sister to visit, has been a bit sad, and over a lifetime of going to and fro from the town where I was born, and meeting with friends and mainly my close family, it now seems a bit empty, like an empty house, all the ‘birds’ flown. I have a brother, a brother-in-law, and a step dad, oh and a cousin or two and their families, but, nothing of the persons who I grew to an adult, with, and who knew me very much more intimately, than, anyone else. It would seem, I need to somehow, come half-way, in my own world of thoughts and needs, to satisfy, what eternally is placed in my heart, but also to allow my own soul, something of a place of restfulness. So summers, take me to places where such a thing happens often, with strolls on a beach, but, my winters too need to be, like the house set up in the mountains, with the fire ablaze in the hearth, and the lamps low lit, and that blessed little book case of things that need to be read.