Memoirs of a Bookworm
It’s not very hard to spot a bookworm these days.
In fact, we can even play that game right now. If you’re in a café, or in a restaurant, or any other place that lures the above mentioned rare species, turn your head around and start your quest of finding one! Though I’d strongly advise against observing strangers up close, you’ll easily manage to recognise others of your kind.
Skip those scrolling on their Instagram like there’s no tomorrow and those texting with the speed of light while trying to not break their thumbs. Rather, look for a distinctive posture: nose stuck deep in a book or as modern circumstances dictate, a fancy Kindle. Maybe pay attention to those with a pair of glasses on their head – rare are the bookworms who have been blessed with not being, well…quite literally blinded by their love of all things lettery.
You officially become a bookworm the very first time a book allows you to escape grim realities for a while and go visit Bookwormshire – I’m the mayor and the pleasure is all mine!
It all started way, way back when I first started reading. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t some kind of a genius who learned how to read or speak two languages by the age of 3. I wish! I actually had trouble remembering the letters “b” and “d” in first grade since those look similar in my language as well. Fast readers will relate – words can’t describe how frustrated I was with myself each time I’d mix up those two and have to pause for a second. Like, who has the time to read slowly? Definitely not a six-year-old.
As time went by, I discovered there are books in English I could read as well – almost as if Aladdin came, swooped me up on his magic carpet and showed me a whole new world! Feeling my whole life had been a lie until then (and then, WHO was that smart to translate all those books?!), and being quite fluent in English by the age of 12, I bought “A Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett at a book fair for less than £2. Looking back now, I think they were just happy to get rid of it, since there are not many people willing to read in English in my country.
Full of pride for getting such a bargain on the book, and quite confident I could read it in a day or two as I’d done with other books, I sat down and slowly realized how much I sucked at English! Like, big time. “A Little Princess” left me turning dictionary pages in a manner definitely not fit for a princess – actually, it was as fast as a wind-powered turbine on a November day. I struggled to understand every single word, and I wanted to give up each time I had to slow down and re-read a paragraph to understand it. Argh!
But it got easier and easier with time and I was hooked! Many of you would agree on this one – while reading, no matter in which language, your brain suddenly stops thinking of the ‘now’ and starts hopping to places your own imagination allows you to see. The child inside me has always craved to create, and books gave me a shaping tool for those creations. Deep down, each bookworm has kept their inner child alive – never allow it to die.
Reading book by book, I travelled to places I never thought I’d go and actually see one day. I also pondered a lot on the thoughts of the author – how did they feel when they’d written that? I was fascinated with the world of Harry Potter – how did Rowling come up with that? Will I ever be that smart? I was terrified at the mere thought I might not be!
Little did I know back then that I’d actually be working with writing and translation in my adult life – if working on a book translation now, it gives me the giggles to think some little girl out there will read it and question who did it.
Why am I telling you this?
Because each bookworm has a unique and yet similar story on how their book love affair started – it feels good to go back and remember it.
Because every single day, from the moment we wake up until the time our head hits the pillow at night, I and you and everyone else with a half-decent Internet connection is bombarded with pieces of information. Not many of that information are useful nor relevant – I mean, come on, there are only so many Snapchat dog ears I can digest in one day and stay normal!
Since I actually prefer using my brain – though I’m guilty as charged of scrolling through Instagram – books allow me to get that clarity of mind we so desperately need today. Getting drowned in the deep, murky waters of everyday life gets much easier as life goes by; books allow me to rise up to the surface and get a gulp of fresh air.
Bookworms have the privilege of shutting down all that nonsense surrounding us and we are able to dive deep into a blissful world of our own – not a luxury many have, right?
Dijana Boshkova is an eternal child working as a full-time writer & translator who uses humour and wit to attack everyday routine.
Hailing all the way from Macedonia, Dijana will be here guest blogging once a month and next month, she’ll be talking all about translations. If you want to know more about her, check out her LinkedIn profile.