“RUBIES” ARE THE THOUSANDS OF BOOKS,MOVIES AND MUSIC ON THE SHELVES OF LAGOS BOOKS CLUB-HERE IS THE THIRD INTRO TO http://edupedianigeria.wordpress.com
What would the world be like without books?
The novelist Colm Toibin once recounted a story about observing a Cantonese man sitting on a Kowloon footpath reading a book. The man’s face was stern with concentration, his finger tracing the line being read. At times the man’s expression would screw up in frustration at his progress. Finally, the reader looked up at the sky, his face beaming. Whether from a sudden joyous facility with the act of reading, or revelation from what was written, or delight at how the story resolved, it doesn’t matter. What mattered is he was in possession of something deliciously private – a connection between him and the writer, between the real world and that world inscribed upon the pages.
What would the world be like without books? What a depressing and absurd idea. Scenes like that man reading belie the notion that modern advances pose a threat to reading as we know it.
There’s always talk that the latest technology signals the demise of the book. Decades ago, radio was what would do it. Then came TV. And now the Internet. The machines change, but the act has stayed the same. The simplest form of technology prevails – pages printed into a sheaf and bound between covers. There’s something reassuring about such simplicity. Especially when it lets us delve into the complexities of life.
Literature is the story of ourselves, the record of who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going. Non-fiction illuminates the world for us and fiction explains what non-fiction cannot. Through books we first travel. In those wanderings we become best acquainted with humanity through the characters we come to know more intimately than anyone else – whether we love, loathe, fear, or fawn over them.
The narrator in Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet helps me comprehend my faults and aspirations. Holden Caulfield and Harry Potter make me feel less alone. King Lear, Hannibal Lecter and Boromir are cautionary tales for who we could become if we’re not careful. Reading is our deepest connection to what makes us human, and part of a larger society.
In that, books are a comfort. When I was a boy with thick glasses and braces on my buckteeth, books were my safe haven. Generations have likewise found solace in the written world, safety in feeling less alone amongst the crowds. Aren’t we loneliest, after all, when surrounded by others? But books aren’t bomb shelters, they’re bridges – through their pages we’re brought out into society, and one can posit that someone who reads is prepared for the world on a deeper level than someone who doesn’t.
Though reading a book connects one with humanity, it is also the last truly private act in a world that’s become too public. As nourishment for the mind, it’s slow food in a world given over to fast food. Blogs, text messages, e-books, and the like bring topicality, portability, instant gratification, much as newspapers and magazines do.
However important such forms are, they endure only as long as the stuff they’re printed on. The comforts of books: they defy time, break borders, and repudiate mortality.
And there are the unquantifiable pleasures that books alone offer: The scent, the sound, the tactile sensation of what is a cerebral, silent, disembodied task. The sharing of a volume by lending it to a friend. The adventure of leaving a book to be found by a stranger, who will in turn partake in that private journey before passing it on again. The grandeur of a civilization evidenced through its libraries.
It is important that we work to give every person the opportunity to enjoy books as shelters, sustenance, and roads forward. Literacy and library programs are important goals for developed and developing nations alike. To imagine a world without books is to imagine a world without thought. A world without feeling, compassion, history, or voice.
-By Miguel Syjuco, from the Philippines, is the author of the bestselling, multi-awarded debut novel Ilustrado.
Kindly spend some time on our new blog (http://edupedianigeria.wordpress.com) going through our lists of books and multimedia .They are available for SALE,HIRE OR SWAP as indicated on commercial pages related to them.