When i was a child my best moments in my formative years were spent in a bookshop close to my house which would let me rent any book or comic I needed for a sum of money I could afford growing up. I spent many an afternoon in that shop surrounded by stacks upon stacks of musty comics and books just soaking it all up. This is where i bought my first batman comic, where I got to know who superman and xmen were…and I spent hours upon hours reading from this that and the other. That bookshop closed some 10 years ago and when I saw it replaced I felt an immeasurable loss.
When I look at my own kids today glued to an Ipad or when I look at the general reading atmosphere in this country I get sad…our children today do not have any of these book rental stores to go to they don’t have anything even vaguely similar to a book bank where they can go and experience what we did and now with places like saeed book bank closing the future looks bleak. I feel that same loss again….
I really wonder how with so many development initiatives taking place in this country and city by donors as well as by local activists the formation of simple book banks has eluded all. Why do we think an IPad or an ebook can replace the feeling of turning pages in real life because it CANNOT! How many stories have you heard where someone read something in an book and got inspired? The experience in the digital world is that of instant gratification not stable longer lasting impact and it is not the same thing.
Sabeen had thought of this when she formed the book nook in the farrar gallery at T2F, but I never saw anyone else take initiative for the same thing. Books are a crucial part of the fabric of a societies art and culture as well as the essential building blocks upon which a young mind’s identity and narrative is created. I went into tech because I believed in the future because I was an avid sci fi fan because I wanted to explore territories unchartered. Without that book store and the kind uncle who would look the other way when I stood there reading comics at times not having the money to pay for them, my mind would not have opened up to possibility.
Why are we closing off possibilities for our children? Why aren’t we waking up to this reality?