Hello! Today I have the great pleasure of introducing Jonathan Stoud to the blog! I absolutely adore the books by Jonathan that I've read and the new book, The Screaming Staircase in his new series, Lockwood and Co was published by Random House on the 29th of August. You really must get your hands on a copy of this one, folks.
And to find out more information about Jonathan Stroud or Lockwood and Co, please do visit the following websites:
My Favourite Places to Read
by Jonathan Stroud
Since I was knee-high to an imp, reading has been my number one pastime. More than that, it’s been a sort of compulsion. Anything, but anything, was ammunition for my eager eyes. As a child I scoured the back of the cereal packets as I wolfed my breakfast; in the street my head rotated like an owl’s as I digested the interesting logos on the sides of passing lorries. Damp newspapers on roadsides, building regulations tied on lampposts: it was all fair game.
But these were the aperitifs, the snacks between the nourishing main meals that were my books. And I read my books whenever I got the chance. Sometimes, it’s true, I read them conventionally, sitting in a chair (my first true ‘reading memory’: demolishing Enid Blyton’s Five on a Treasure Island one afternoon, when I was six, happily cocooned in a big high-sided armchair), but more often than not I tried other locations. My life was busy, after all, and I had a lot of books to cram in.
1. Walking along
I had a 20 minute walk home from school, along a somewhat dreary expanse of suburban street. Potentially a tedious waste of time, but not if I held a paperback in front of my face and read it as I strolled nonchalantly along. I relied for my survival on intuitively remembering where every street edge came. Miraculously I was never (to my knowledge) seriously run over, and the number of street-lamps I hit can be counted on the remaining fingers of one hand.
2. On the lavatory
Looking back from an adult perspective, my childhood existence must have been a lot less hectic than my current one, judging by the merry hours I was able to spend reading in the bathroom. Some people would head to the toilet with a rolled up newspaper under their arm. I’d stroll in with Anna Karenina or War and Peace, and not emerge until I’d made fairly decent headway. What physical or psychological harm this did to me (or to the family members waiting outside) is yet to be fully determined.
3. In the bath
Again, just how languorous an existence did I have in those days? I once read an entire book (it was Doctor Who and the Power of Kroll, fact fans) from beginning to end while lounging in the bath. The water got cold, and I came out all grey and shrivelled and not unlike something from Doctor Who myself, but that didn’t seem to bother me.
4. While doing my teeth/washing etc
I confess I still quite often read while brushing my teeth, which probably explains why I only have six left. But in my youth, I quite often continued reading even while doing the full ablution. I even had a particular technique for washing both armpits while maintaining unbroken view of the page; if writing fails me, I could probably find employment doing this at a circus.
5. In Bed
I still do this too, of course, but there’s a difference. As a boy I could quite contentedly stay awake until the early hours, devouring the latest epic novel. Now, I tend to manage a maximum of three pages before subsiding grotesquely into middle-aged slumber. Which makes me ask: where’s the panache, where’s the energy gone?!*
* Answer: children.
Thank you, Jonathan! Where is YOUR favourite place to read?