The first book I read cover-to-cover in one sitting was ‘Pinquo’ by Colin Thiele. I sat awkwardly perched on a dining room chair, hungrily turning the pages, and putting everything else on hold. There were no breaks, no timeouts for food, and no pauses to indulge in idle family chit chat. It was impossible for me to put the book down until the story of that incredible little fairy penguin was complete. While it brought many tears to my eyes, Pinquo was my first book love and I therefore recall only the very fondest of memories of that intense reading session.
The day Colin Thiele visited my primary school on a promotional tour, was the happiest day of my then short-lived life. In typical fashion I had forgotten to bring my copy of Pinquo to school for him to sign, and so instead I bought a copy of ‘February Dragon’ (the only book of his that I had yet to read). I was probably too shy and awestruck to say anything beyond a quiet ‘thank you’ when he signed my book, and in any case I probably wouldn’t have been able to express exactly what his books meant to me.
Not too distant from that event, for my birthday one of my uncles gifted me a beautiful hardcopy edition of ‘Playing Beattie Bow’ by Ruth Park. Here then was another story to fall in love with. With a plot set in Sydney, a young girl as the main character, and time-travelling elements of the fantastical, it was a book I connected with in many different ways. I was smitten.
I’m sharing these memories because I’d always thought that I’ve never been much of a reader or supporter of Australian writers, but of course as it turns out that’s not at all true. Over the years I’ve enjoyed many works by other local authors such as David Malouf, Joan Lindsay, Markus Zusak, John Marsden, John Birmingham and Geraldine Brooks. More recently I caught up with Kate Morton’s novels, and I’ve just finished reading Anna Funder’s ‘All That I Am’, and ‘Foal’s Bread’ by Gillian Mears (both of which I enjoyed).
Just last week I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of Kate Morton’s upcoming novel ‘The Secret Keeper’. It’s next on my ‘to read’ list and I’m so looking forward to continuing my love affair with her words. What a happy occurrence this is, to be reading the latest work of a Brisbane author, given that it is currently ‘Queensland Writer’s Week‘. The only downside is that it’s quite a weighty tome to carry on my daily commute, but when it comes to books I’ll happily sacrifice personal comfort for a good story.
Do you remember your first book love?