During the chat, Dame Judi revealed that she first discovered a love for reading when she was very ill with tonsillitis as a child and was recovering in her brother’s room. There, she read his Just William books and said they made her laugh so much she probably made her throat much worse.
From then on, “I was hooked,” she said.
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Dame Judi also explained that her childhood home was filled with books, especially poetry and Shakespeare, as her own house is now. As a consequence, Dame Judi revealed she can recite the whole of Twelfth Night from start to finish.
She credited her doctor father for her love of poetry but also enjoyed fiction as a child and said she most loved, “any kind of books about children behaving badly.”
“I must have read all the Famous Five, Swallows and Amazons, I remember that very well indeed,” Dami Judi told Gyles.
As an adult, she would read Charlotte’s Web to her daughter Finty, who she described as a “great, great reader,” but revealed she had never read to her grandson Sammy. Instead, she said she and Sammy “have conversations” and added, “I learn things from him, like TikTok!”
Discussing reading among younger generations, Dami Judi said, “It’s of deep concern for me that [a phone] takes over people’s lives and they may think that that is a better substitute for a book but try a book, because it can present you with many more things which you don’t just read but fire your imagination.”
She continued, “You can be completely transported to another place and be totally engrossed in a book and to the exclusion of anything that’s happening around you.”
Gyles agreed, adding, “I think a book is the one friend you can really rely on, that’s why I love a book…if you’ve got a book with you, you’ve got a companion.”
“What a good thing to say, Gyles,” Dame Judi responded.
Famous Five 21 Book Complete Classic Edition Gift Set (Famous Five Gift Books and Collections)
Just William (Just William series)
Arden Shakespeare Third Series Complete Works (The Arden Shakespeare Third Series)
Swallows And Amazons by Ransome, Arthur (April 5, 2001) Paperback
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