I have always been a voracious reader. But one day I realised my passion for books had turned into a mania

The need for last year’s resolution started in my childhood. (Don’t they all?) By the age of six, I was reading braille at an unheard-of speed, to the point where the teacher at my blind school accused me of lying when I said I had finished the three books she had given me that morning. It was the start of a lifelong problem: braille books were scarce, but I could not get enough of them.

The school had devised a particularly cruel and subtle form of torture for someone like me: they kept just one title of a child’s favourite author in the school library; for example, just one Famous Five book, one Billy Bunter, one Just William. As I grew older and my tastes changed, the problem remained the same: one Raymond Chandler, one PG Wodehouse, just one even mildly dirty book when puberty hit.

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