Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Go buy a book now....

When I was growing up books gave me the world to look at. Not just the world at that time but the past, the future, and worlds of the imagination. I read about pioneering americans in the 19th century, I read about ancient egypt, I read about warring gangs in the 50's, and wizards and warriors and kings from Earthsea, and Middle Earth and talking animals in Narnia. When I was growing up books gave me a sense of wonder. I read and re-read them, devouring them quickly and searching for more. They gave me a lot of pleasure and they gave me advice and information. Books didn't isolate me - I had friends aplenty, but books made me a part of the wider world - I guess the forerunner to the world wide web in a way. I was sad to see in this report on why some people don't buy books (thanks to Bookman Beattie for this link) that some people viewed reading as an "anti-social activity (practiced by people who) don't know how to live". Crikey. Not only do I consider I have a fair idea of 'how to live' I also feel like I have an appreciation of how some other people live too. Books have given me a window onto the lives of others . Sometimes they are sad or bad people living horrible tragic existences, suffering circumstances that I could not have imagined without the benefit of a book showing me. Sometimes they are living risky, thrilling, action-packed lives. If I lived a lifetime twenty times longer than the one I live now I could not hope to have all the experiences I have read about. I have learnt so much. I am still learning. Books can give you hope and understanding. They can make you laugh and cry, sometimes all in the space of a single page. They can wake you up, tune you in and switch you on. Yowza. Go buy a book now. Who knows where it might take you.

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