Books are an intrinsic part of my life. They litter my home, are stacked high on shelves, and there’s always one beside my bed.
Looking back over the most important landmarks of my life, I can nearly always remember the book I was reading at the time.
When I graduated from university, it was one of the Harry Potter books; when I got married it was The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and when I had my first baby, I was reading Room by Emma Donoghue.
And I’m not fussy about what I read. For me, that’s what’s important about reading. There’s no one looking over my shoulder telling what I ‘should’ enjoy, or ‘should’ immerse myself in.
Instead I flit from an easy-going romantic novel to a historical tome, and from Booker prize literature to crime writing.
At school you’re nearly always told what you should be reading, and it’s no surprise to find that the books I had to study for my A-levels are the ones I haven’t gone back to.
Instead, I raided the English department’s cupboards for books I wanted to devour, like A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood - a book I’ve since re-read up to ten times!
As a child I used to go to the old Waterside Library - which no longer exists - and feel as though I had come home.
I loved the dusty, dank smell that pervaded its doors, the steps which sat right in the middle of the floor, leading down to the sections I never bothered about, and the children’s section to the right as you walked in.
For me, a library day was a huge treat. And when I got there, more often than not, I used my own quota and some of my mum’s too, heading home with up to ten books under my arm.
I remember curling up with my grandfather on a beanbag to read books, which must be one of my earliest memories as he passed away when I was just five, and my mother reading Roald Dahl to me, chapter by chapter for nights on end.
Now, my own children are surrounded by books and the highlight of my day is reading to my eldest as she chooses, yet again, her favourites; the ones she can already recite from memory and laugh at the same parts.
Basically, I love books and the memories they invoke as well as the imagination they encourage.
So, when Libraries NI announced they were looking for the ‘Perfect Library’ I thought it was a great idea.
They’re asking people to let them know which book is their favourite and why.
Everyone who enters is then part of a prize draw with the winner receiving a copy of every book that makes the final cut.
Now that’s my sort of prize!
You’ve got until Saturday (22nd March) to take part. You can pick up an entry card in any public/mobile library or enter on the Libraries NI website - www.librariesni.org.uk/pages/perfect-library.aspx
The final list will be announced on Thursday 24th April - and I can’t wait to see which ones make it.
Do you have a book you think should definitely be on there. Let us know below.