You may have tangible wealth untold:
Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.
Richer than I you can never be -
I had a Mother who read to me. 

- Strickland Gillilan

Books have been an integral part of my life almost from birth - I was brought up on fairy tales, Little Grey Rabbit, Beatrix Potter and CAM and, once I learned to read for myself, devoured pretty much anything I could lay my hands on including A A Milne, J M Barrie, Kenneth Grahame, Enid Blyton, Elinor M Brent-Dyer's Chalet School books, Diana Wynne Jones, LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, C S Lewis (I've lost count of the number of wardrobes I've peered hopefully into the backs of!), graduating onto Elizabeth Goudge, Georgette Heyer, Arthur Conan Doyle, Paul Gallico, Tolkein and hundreds of others.

I've always loved fairy tales and my favourite has always been Beauty & The Beast, despite the fact that the 'Beast transforms into handsome prince' ending has always struck me as something of a cop out - the whole point of the story being that she loves the beast for himself. I particularly like Robin McKinley's novel length interpretations of classic fairy tales (Beauty, Rose Daughter, Spindle's End etc).

My all time favourite book though is an A5 sized picture book that was first published in 1949 - The Story of Belinda Bear, by CAM. There were five of CAM's books at my Grannie's house that had belonged to my Dad and aunts. Belinda was little bear who loved honey and looked for honey everywhere she went, until 'one day she poked her greedy little nose bang in the middle of a wasp's nest!' whereupon 'The King Wasp said to his army: "Attack that bear! Ready, steady - go!" And they did, and there were 81 of them (you count them and see).' at which point Grannie and I would religiously count each and every one of the (eighty-one) wasps before turning the page. CAM's illustrations were something of a cross between Arthur Rackham and Disney and her stories quite quirky. 

Other favourite books from Grannie's bookshelf were 'Cowslip Mollie', 'Ginger and Snout' and Dad's old Eagle and Rupert Annuals.

These days I read pretty much anything except horror and the bookcases include everything from magical realism (Sarah Addison Allen's books were a great find) to science fiction (Anne McCaffrey and Robert Heinlein have been long time favourites). I'm firmly in the 'love Harry Potter and Eragon' camp and working my way through Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels proved a wonderful diversion during my cancer treatment.