On Books We Read in Childhood
Contributor
Written by
Nino Gugunishvili
February 2018
Contributor
Written by
Nino Gugunishvili
February 2018

 

It’s an early summer morning; I’m sitting outside our house on a patio, and reading The Count of Monte Cristo. The book is old and heavy, and it smells of dust and of someone’s home. I’m somewhere between 10 to 12 years old, I gulp the pages knowing there’s less and less time left before my cusin and my brother woke up and another adventurous day of our summer holidays took off. But before that, I have that time of savouring, induldging into my loneliness with the book, escaping into the story of love, revenge, and friendship and loyalty. I think all of the greatest books I’ve read, I read them there, during those summers, sitting on an old rusty couch.  

I’ll always remember that smell and those early, blissful summer mornings at our house outside Tbilisi, in a little village called Tskhneti, and if you ask me what happiness is, happiness for me relates to that memory of a girl holding a huge book and reading Alexandre Dumas, or later Jerome K Jerome, and J.D. Sallinger, and Tolstoy, and Charles Dickens, and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and of course Hemingway and Fitzgerald, O’Henry and Jack London. Who wasn’t in love with Dick Forrest from the Little Lady of the Big House? I sure was. Madly!  Oh, and the Three Musketeers? That book was every boy’s bible, and the “Tous pour un, un pour tous” line was clearly the motto of our childhood. Those books we read during long summer breaks formed us, our tastes, our thinking, our understanding of friendship and love and even largely it defined our values. Reading as an experience was magic; sharing with your friends what you just read was such a thrill and joy, exchanging the books with each other and talking about each of the characters, discussing  them through the endless conversations over the phone. Now, when we’re in our 40ies it seems that luxury of discussing a book over and over again with your closest friend is gone, gone are the summer holidays, and sadly, I realize, that children now are reading other books, they fell in love with other stories and characters. It doesn’t mean they are not as good as the books we read when we were teenagers or even younger, but they seem somehow different. There are kindles and ipads and zillions of comfortable gadgets coming, and don’t get me wrong, everytime I’m reading on my kindle I’m sending a huge thank you into the space to whoever invented it. But, I hope you’ll agree, that reading a physical copy of a book still is irreplaceable, it feels like returning to that summer house, to those early mornings with a fresh summer scent, and an old heavy, yellow paged The Count of Monte Cristo. It’s bringing back the magic of a happy childhood.       

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