‘I’ve always enjoyed both reading and being read to.’

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In Part 3 of the Blakesley family lockdown blogs, Nathaniel (12) shares his thoughts on reading, boarding school, and Sherlock Holmes during lockdown…

I’ve always enjoyed both reading and being read to. I remember having loads of books in my room as a toddler (including The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child, Mister Magnolia etc), and then reading almost all of the Beast Quest and Sea Quest books as fast as I could. Dad gave me his old Kindle in 2014 (I was 6) and loved the idea of being able to download books, but as I have got older I have come to prefer books to Kindles as you can hold the book and feel the paper. I think I love physical books more mostly because of the smell and the look of the paper. My mum introduced me to Reading Force years ago and I remember doing the summer reading challenges as well as completing the scrapbooks.

I have been a boarder at The Dragon School, Oxford since September 2017. I won’t lie, I miss home, a lot, and so when at school I read to forget about being away from home.  But it is more than just this – it also takes me to a world of danger and problems, and I like to imagine how I would deal with the situations. I read every night for about one hour to help me relax and feel sleepy and I always have several books on the go so I can switch between when I want a different type of genre. My favourite genre is fantasy (as you can imagine it however you want to and you cannot be wrong), but I also like to read stuff on science as well (I subscribe to Science and Nature) and real life stories (as I qualified scuba diver you’ll not be surprised that I read a book called Amazing Diving Stories – Incredible Tales from Deep Beneath the Sea, which was really good) too.

The coronavirus meant that my school finished a week early for Easter, although we did have some online lessons and prep for a few days. Easter holidays here in the Services Cotswold Centre have been interesting. I also like running (both cross country and the 800 metres), so being able to get out for an hour a day to run has been fun, and of course I’ve read a lot of books including Biggles, Gerald Durrell’s Encounters With Animals (I am thinking of being a vet or marine biologist when I grow up), and Philip Pullman’s The Ruby in the Smoke. I’m back at virtual school now, and the first half of the summer term has been done using Zoom and my parents’ computer. It’s been quite busy, but I’ve still found time to read.

In fact I’ve just finished reading a book sent to me by Reading Force – Young Sherlock Snake Bite – and I can highly recommend it. During lockdown my family and I have been watching the BBC’s version of Sherlock (where Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman play the lead roles). I love how they have set these episodes in modern day London, but have to admit I have not read any of the original books by Arthur Conan Doyle. So when I was given the opportunity to read and review Young Sherlock Snake Bite for Reading Force I jumped at it. You can read my review of the book here.