I came across one of those nice words to say the other day: Bibliophile. Just bubbles off the tongue.
It does not mean a fan of the Bible but a lover of collecting and reading books. I am a bibliophile, have been all my life.
I grew up in a home where books were literally treasured. Mum was always a soft touch for the door-to-door salesmen selling books in the days before television.
We had treasured box sets of the children's classics, Arthur Mee's The Children's Encyclopaedia, including its very own bookcase, and Readers Digest books by the score.
We also collected comics to swap amongst the other kids in the neighbourhood, cartoons and the British children's comics of the time, the war comics with all the very politically incorrect and, may I say, racist names then in vogue.
I have belonged to the public library all my life.
A sight I still enjoy nowadays is visiting the library and watching a parent, usually mum with the kids, lining up to check the books they want to take home.
Mum has one or two adult books for herself and a whole bag full of books for the pre-schoolers.
She is followed by kids in various age ranges, maybe all the way up to a very cool but grumpy young teen, all with a pile of books to take out each.
Life will be a lot easier for those children, most of whom will make a success of themselves in whatever path they choose simply because they read, have parents who read, probably have a houseload of their own books and are encouraged to read any books they borrow.
It sounds trite, but being able to read is one of the few passports to a functioning adult life that is essential for children to achieve. Sadly, many do not.
Time needs to be spent by boys reading. Studies show that boys trail behind girls in reading ability in New Zealand.
Reasons for this are varied, including boys can be more easily distracted in disruptive classroom environments, boys' brains develop differently to girls of the same age, and many boys simply do not perceive reading for leisure as the thing to do.
My love of books developed early. Being asthmatic as a kid in the 1950s meant a lot of time away from school.
Drugs used today were either not invented or unavailable to many. Asthmatic kids usually just stayed home, stayed quiet until an attack subsided, maybe helped with some basic medicines and herbs then recommended.
This could mean time away from school of between a few days to a couple of weeks, hugely disruptive to a child's education.
Having a bookish family was an advantage as I was told to sit still and read so I would lose myself in whatever world I was reading about.
I used to enjoy sneaking the family medical book for a quick and forbidden look, complete with coloured pictures and diagrams.
Also sneaking the NZ Truth newspaper for a bit of a catch-up on the weekly scandals including the divorce courts news, who was getting divorced and who was the co-respondent. Great days, no privacy for anyone.
My parents did not mind what we read, except for the medical book and the Truth, as long as we read.
This is something our own children were encouraged to do as well.
Being absent from school frequently meant a lot of catching up to be done. I am sure being a bookworm helped in this matter, together with the homework sent home by my teachers.
Collecting books is now becoming an issue at the love shack on the hill.
I have been providing submissions to the Managing Director about the need for at least one more big bookcase but, to date, all approaches have failed, much to the benefit of the St John Ambulance Book Sale people.
I continually have to triage my books, making difficult decisions about what is to stay and what has to go to another life with another bibliophile.
I have also now begun reading to our granddaughter Miss 3-year-old who, like both her parents, will be another bookworm. Miss 8-month-old is not that interested at present, but I am working on her.
Bibliophilia seems to run in families for some reason. The Bride's family are avid readers.
Her mother's house had literally thousands of books to clear when the time came to sell it.
There is no known cure for the condition, it is not like any other addiction, abstinence does not work, and continual management is the key whilst at the same time encouraging the younger members of the family to seriously partake.