what charlotte means to me

Every Saturday morning we’d go to the red brick building that housed the local library. I’d borrow as many books as I could, and read them over the weekend. Often there’d be some Gollancz Science Fiction, whose bright yellow jackets were easy to spot on the shelves. I soon learned that SF really stood for Speculative Fiction, a new world entirely.

By my late teens my literary prejudices were fully formed: no prose worth reading between Sterne and Joyce, no verse worth reading between Rochester and Pound.

A small breakfast-room adjoined the drawing-room. I slipped in there. It contained a book-case: I soon possessed myself of a volume …. I mounted into the window-seat: gathering up my feet, I sat cross-legged, like a Turk; and, having drawn the red moreen curtain nearly close, I was shrined in double retirement.

Years later, stretched out on the sofa reading, I thought back to those earlier days. Sometimes rather than sitting, I’d read kneeling on the floor, the book propped up on the armchair in my place. Once I knelt on a bee.

Prejudice too can be transient.

Explore: Paul Thompson’s Jane Eyre website