I’ve always enjoyed reading stories. From my earliest days I have been able to very quickly enter the imaginative worlds created in quality narratives. My dear late mother used to buy me a matchbox car and a golden book so that she could shop in peace with an active under seven year old. And peace she got. I would be off in my own world playing with my car and living in the world of whichever book I had been given. Of course my reading progressed through action, adventures, science fiction, animal stories, and whatever I was given at school. The book which turned me towards a career as an English teacher was that great wonder of fiction ‘Wuthering Heights.’ For a boy from Western Sydney, I was mesmerised by this story, which I felt so drawn to, but which I felt happened on another planet. I was turned on to the power of social commentary by Alan Paton’s quiet classic, ‘Cry, the Beloved Country.’ A double major in English Literature followed, as has a life long connection with the greatest minds and works of art of all times, as expressed in the classic novel. But fear not that this blog will only deal with what you may think of as dry, dusty, classics, as much as I am tempted. I have also admired Young Adult fiction, Sci-fi, Fantasy, Memoir, Narrative history, Self development, Zen Buddhism, Comedy, Satire, Philosophy and a diverse range of unique titles. Books have opened up different worlds to me, and I hope through this blog, I can encourage others to undertake or continue their own explorations. Read quickly and lightly, steadily, episodically or deeply and repeatedly, and you will reemerge in exactly the same place; but perhaps with new perceptions. The greatest gift of all for me, apart from love and connection, is the space and freedom to choose the next step in your life, as if it is the first. Happy reading and I would love to hear from you. Thank you, Mark Gaul

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