As I grew older. My obsession really took hold.
I read The Hobbit when I was seven years-old, to the amusement of my teacher and parents. I was always reading books from the class above. I was allowed to sneak in, quietly, and choose my books to take home in my tatty book bag.
My childhood love affair with Enid Blyton began. I'd become so fully immersed in tales of homemade lemonade and club houses that I'd lose hours, only to realise when I was nudged from my land of make-believe by my brother telling me that dinner was ready and Dad wasn't going to shout me again.
Then came Mallory Towers. Jacqueline Wilson. Goosebumps. Judy Blume. I ploughed through books. I begged to go to the library. I'd regularly go after school and walk home, swinging a plastic bag of books in one hand, and holding another to my face, as I dawdled along, narrowly dodging passersby and lampposts.
My parents joked that I was just like Belle from Beauty and the Beast. "With a dreamy far-off look. And her nose stuck in a book."
I remember when I started reading 'grown-up' books aged around 14. My eyebrows would raise as I read tales of love and lust and even the S-word. It was when my fascination with love began. Where I'd read these stories, convinced that true love and happily ever after existed. And that I'd find it, once I outgrew my training bra and started working in the city or something equally as grown-up.
I have favourites, even now. Books that I can't bear to let go of. Books that hold too many memories. Or that I'll read again and again, just because the story is the literary equivalent of a warm, enveloping hug.
When real life gets a little tough, life has given you lemons and you can't be arsed to make lemonade, and Prince Charming has buggered off with some girl he met on a night out, then a good book is all you need.
You can curl up, you pick the spot, your bed, the sofa, the window seat, under a tree, on a picnic blanket, sprawled on a sun lounger, and you just lose yourself.
Words, for me, speak louder than any picture could. While photography, film, imagery all light my fire, there's nothing quite like the power of words. Words that make you exclaim: "Yes! I get that. That's exactly how I feel!" Or words that make you sob into your sleeve as you read on. Whether it's the lyrics to a song, that you repeat over and over again. Or the perfect simplicity of a single sentence that says everything you need to say but so beautifully that you want to commit it to memory.
Or just the simple effect of: "I've fallen in love with you."
And it seems, whether by chance, by luck, or perhaps because the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree, my son, every night, as we curl up for two books, no more, no less, will toddle to his bookcase, make his choice and turn to me and say: "Mama - Bloonya?"
My first favourite.
And that of my son's.
That's quite a tale to tell.
"There is no friend as loyal as a book."
- Ernest Hemingway.
Of course, today is World Book Day. I probably don't even need to tell you that. There'll be little ones dressed up as Gruffalos and wizards in every school. Maybe you, like me, will curl up at night with your current novel on-the-go, or even an old faithful. After Balloonia and Dear Zoo, I plan on reading a little more of The Notebook. With a brew. And a blanket.
And, if like my friends, you are booking a holiday left, right and centre (jealous much?) you need to check out this World Book Day app from Thomas Cook - where you enter your destination and favourite book genre and it'll pick a book for you. Now I just need someone to take me away. I'll bring the books. Obviously.