Books, reading and storytelling

In this extract Seamus Marken says that he was born with a book in his arms! He remembers that he was an avid reader from a very early age and at times he could be desperate for something to read. He talks about the different books he read as a child including comics and the Swiss Family Robinson as well as the Jail Journal. He remembers that he would save the money he earned by helping his father in the slaughterhouse where he worked and go straight to a book shop on Bacherlor's Walk every Friday to buy more books.

Books, newspapers, comics and journals were an important feature of the interviews. All except one of the participants interviewed left school at age 14 to begin their working lives. This was very common at a time of widespread poverty and their income was vital for the running of the family. However, it was something that many of the participants looked back on with regret. Reading provided an outlet for some of the participants who saw it as a means of broadening their minds and gaining something by way of education to replace the formal education lost in their early teens.

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