Thursday, 3 March 2016

On World Book Day : Books still have the Power to change the World.

Today marks World Book Day, in an increasingly digitalised age, books I  believe still have the power to change the world. Like many people, I guess, I still get trapped by the allure of the internet, a tool, that I use most days, but as I write this piece, in my trusted library am surrounded by books, and when not here, at home or wherever I happen to be, I still  like to stick my head in a book, turn some pages, that continue to challenge and inspire. A thirst and taste first harnessed by my mum, and subsequently the local library.
Despite the tragedies and terrors of the world  books can still restore some kind of hope, can provide a form of sustenance to people in similar circumstances across the globe,  a vast flow of communication that have served to remind us of our shared humanity's vast diverse cultural heritage. Precious trickles, like water that allow us to grow. Books still have the capacity to change and challenge the worlds problems and provide people with the means to educate themselves, and like love itself words of course have no borders.
Personally books are a form of addiction for me, one that I am glad that I have succumbed too, much better for my health than certain substances that are also readily available. I buy most of mine nowadays from charity shops and the few small inependent booksellers that remain,  places so worth supporting, wonderful spaces, balms for the imagination.
At home I am lucky, I still have plenty to choose from, to hold my fascination, dusty old tomes, dangerous, magical, subversive, that cement ideas of mine together. Surrealists, dreamers, dissenters, outsiders, rebels,magicians, poets, experimental fragrances that always take me somewhere special. Thought provoking fuels that offer me equally comfort, confirmation and validation.
World Book Day is a time to celebrate everything book and reading related that enable us to engage in making another world possible. To enjoy and celebrate the power that different stories, tales and narratives have, to allow us to see the world through other peoples eyes, new perspectives that can help us find paths to build a better world to live in. Because books allow us to live creatively, think on our own terms, to travel portals with no need of passports.
The day hopes to bring people together through a love of books, to encourage people, especially children to read books, it also seeks to promote peace, tolerance and understanding and respect among each other for other cultures and traditions. 
So today this post is my way of celebrating the power of books. Sadly though their will always be those that seek to control what we read, because books retain the  power to move, transform and enrich individuals lives, open us up to change,and to help reshape significantly the world that we live in and make a difference.
Sadly my local library is currently under threat because my local council is planning to downsize it by 75%, and relocate it to a place that parents of young children , the disabled and others  will have no access to,  with no thought of the future, even though current landlord has offered this temple a rent free guarantee for the next  five years. It  simply does not make sense. The council is simply succumbing to our Governments monstrous cultural vandalism and savage cost cutting, that  is taking place across the land, it is not to late to save it, so please sign the following petition, and would urge anyone reading on World Book Day to fight to save any library under threat in your own community.:-
In the background now  the sound of children singing, enjoying the power of books, actively encouraged by our friendly librarian.
Books I hope will long have the capacity to mould, and sustain us.
I will end with some quotes, the first  from Heinrich Heine ( 1797-1857) German essayist and romantic poet :-

" Where they burn books, so too will they in the end burn human beings. "

" You cannot open a book without learning something. " - Confucius

" A book must be  the axe for the frozen sea within us." - Franz Kafka

" Hungry man , reach for the book, it is a weapon." - Bertolt Brecht 

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