We all at one point in our lives have read books, some more than others. There has always been a story we have been interested in, a character we have liked or even hated and have been unable to forget, a plot we have been so caught up with that we have kept turning the pages to find out what’s next.
We all read for different reasons. The same book, the same story might have different meanings to different people. The same book may even have a different meaning to us every time we reread it. Our involvement in it may not be the same as the first time we read the book. We notice different things about the character, the story. Depending on our mood or state of mind at the time a word, a paragraph, or a phrase that might have caught our attention at first might not carry the same meaning the second time we read it. The third time will feel different than the second, the fourth than the third and so on. We fall in love with the story, the plot, the form, the style, the words and their musicality and the magic they create and we keep reading.
Have you ever found yourself in a hospital waiting room where you grabbed a magazine from the coffee table and leafed through it and for a tiny bit of a moment, forgot your worries or your pain? Reading a book on a train, a plane, a bus, the metro, you temporarily forget yourself and the real life issues weighing on your mind as you are transported to places you have never been before, with people you have never met. People who live between the covers of a book and jump at you every time you turn the page.
Ever since man has existed on this planet, stories have been told and passed on from one generation to the next, for centuries. With the advancement of civilization, libraries have occupied a significant place in our lives. As E.B. White wrote:
“A library is a good place to go when you feel unhappy, for there, in a book, you may find encouragement and comfort. A library is a good place to go when you feel bewildered or undecided, for there, in a book, you may have your question answered.”
With the creation of e-book readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Chapters’ Kobo to name a few, and the daily progress of science and technology, I wonder what the future of libraries will be. Will there be a time when every single person on this planet, young or old, will have access to any information with just the click of a button?
I don’t have an e-book reader right now. I am not against it, but because I fell in love with books long before I could even read, and fell in love with the way books looked and smelled, I find it hard to imagine that there might come a time when libraries will be obsolete. Maybe they will exist as e-reading stations, with tables and power sockets for e-book users to gather and recharge. I find it hard to reflect upon simply because there won’t be any magic left in it for me. Because my library is:
“…a fine dark place bricked with books, so anything could happen there and always did. All you had to do was pull a book from the shelf and open it and suddenly the darkness was not so dark anymore.” Ray Bradbury