During a recent talk with a friend last week she mentioned the names of three books that I would be interested to read. As soon as I had the chance, I went online to order the books. All three were available at Chapters and Amazon. On any normal day I wouldn’t hesitate to order the books, any books in fact. But since I was going downtown the next day I decided to pass by Chapters and check those books out.
The next day, the first thing I did when I got off the metro was go to Chapters. I don’t know how to say this but every time I enter a bookstore I feel totally at home. Like there’s nowhere else that gives me as much pleasure and comfort as being in a bookshop. It’s as if I am this little girl again and there’s nothing in the world that matters to me more. Maybe I am a dreamer.
“Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” Oscar Wilde
I realized that the last time I had been there was four years ago. That’s when everything was still okay in my life. And after that it seems as if I have been living in a totally different world. Not that I haven’t been to book sales or I haven’t bought any books ever since. I have done my shopping online with the click of the keyboard. But to see so many people there, all as interested as me and some maybe even more made me hopeful again.
Because lately some say that there is a decline in the novel, while others claim that it is not the novel that is in decline but the readership. I personally think that at no time in the history of the novel has there been as many novels and stories published as today. Technology has made it easy for us to publish and read digitally. From advertisements, to courses, to articles and stories, to magazines and novels. People sometimes spend hours online, reading. The internet, twitter, blogging and digital publishing have helped turn us global.
But, as Isaac Bashevis Singer said in his Nobel lecture in 1978:
“There is no machine and no kind of reporting and no kind of film that can do for us what a Tolstoy or Dostoyevsky or Gogol did. Progress can never kill literature, any more than it can kill religion. The more technology, the more people will be interested in what the human mind can produce without the help of electronics. …if we have people with the power to tell a story, there will always be readers.”