My first book wasn’t my first book. When I say first book, I don’t mean the first book I read although you would assume that’s what I meant. No, when I say first book, I mean the first book that changed my life. Otherwise, my first book would be The Hungry Caterpillar, which despite having a meaningful story, didn’t drastically change my life, well in any way I am aware of.
I read my first book when I was thirteen and it still sits on my shelf with its three comrades. The Book Thief. Now I told this to Shaun and he dismissed it as another young adult book, but to me it was far more important than that. I never wanted to read or write before this book. I didn’t see any point in studying English, caring about the language or simply sitting there and reading a book. It was my parents that forced it on me during a summer holiday to France. We drove there, so I was bored, just being sat in the back of the car and I gave in. I picked up the book and started to read. I was halfway through it by the time we hit Dover. I’d finished it when we entered Paris. In that journey, through England and France and through The Book Thief, I had changed. That single journey had transformed me from uncaring to a zealous lover of words, language, and writing.
After my epiphany, I needed to read more, so my parents bought me a copy of The Three Musketeers from Shakespeare and Company shop. At the time I had no idea, but I later discovered that it was a shop that paid tribute to the shop where the greatest writers of the 1920’s spent their days in Paris.
The Three Musketeers was harder to read. No, that’s incorrect. It wasn’t harder to read because I still loved every word and space, but it took longer. To jump from The Book Thief to The Three Musketeers is like jumping from Harry Potter to The Lord of the Rings (which I did when I returned home from the holiday). It took me the remainder of the holiday to finish this second book, but I learned so much from both of them. The power of language and the power of friendship, both of which I still treasure today.
This is to me where my belief in a moral code started. Obviously the more I read the more my own moral code developed, but funnily enough, Nathan believes that we are unique. He said to me last week that the only reason we keep a code is because we were nerdy enough to watch films and shows and play video games and in my case, read books that allowed us to develop our own code that we live by. But so does everyone else in society and I think that everyone has some kind of code and if you don’t then you are not one to be trusted.
The Three Musketeers started me off on this code creation (I know, it sounds stupid) because the centre of my morality is friendship, specifically with Nathan, whom I am loyal to without question. He is my family, my brother through choice rather than blood. And I don’t understand how people can live without a code, or maybe I don’t understand how people can live without that one true friendship. I see it everywhere, especially at university. People just abandon their best friends for the next partner or for another friend who appears to be cooler at that moment. If I hadn’t started to read, I might have become that kind of person. Instead I think that because I read so many stories about friendship, I try to make mine the best it can be.