I know it is such a cliché but when I was about 15 I read On the Road and I loved it. I just remember the paragraph about people who are desirous and burn, burn, burn and the words have burnt themselves into my head. Throughout the last 15 years I have only once come across a person in my life who has reminded me of those words. But I loved that moment of realisation when some words you have read fit a situation. When the world in your head that was created by books crosses paths with the real world!
Speaking about the world in your head that was created by books. I really enjoyed this post by Phil Bradley on how we should brand libraries as a dangerous place.
When I did my library Masters I took the Public Libraries module even though I was fairly certain I would never work in a public library. I took it out of interest and I am glad that I did as I wouldn’t want to be a librarian who didn’t know anything about public libraries.
Sometimes when you spend eight hours a day in a library you forget what you are surrounded by. That inside that library are thousands of books and inside those books are thousands of ideas. Genius ideas, terrible ideas, dangerous ideas. Ideals, emotions, conversations, lies, fabrications and talking animals. All sat there waiting to be picked up and ingested. Ingested and assimilated and experienced. Going to the library could change your life.
But then I think now with the internet people have all that information just one click away and are probably scornful of the above paragraph. And I know that and I have thought about it and it just isn’t the same.
I like the idea of making the library more fashionable and appealing. It is a shame that books are seen as boring but I do think schools today do so much more for reading than they did when I was at school and an English lesson comprised of a mouldy man with his belly hanging out of his shirt and his glasses slipping off his face mumbling through Ted Hughes whilst we sat starting at the clock. I still can’t get along with Ted Hughes. But maybe that’s because I prefer Plath. But then everyone did when we were 16.
I think books are the ultimate escapism. But it’s not about clearing your mind and escaping to a happy place. It’s about escaping from the four walls surrounding you to a different place full of people you have never met saying things you have never heard whilst doing things you will never do. And I think whilst films and music envelope and ensconce you with a myriad of senses; books are just a collection of words. And this simplicity is their beauty. They are the ultimate mono experience!
As I once read in Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert ‘Language is a machine that continually amplifies the emotions’. Apparently I have related to this quote a bit too much. But that’s okay. I don’t mind. I’ll just keep on loving.