The Cork Board

Get thee to a library………….

I have pinched this verbatim / as is from my good friend Button because I thought it was just great and a salutary message to us all……………..I hope you enjoy it………………..


I seem to have plodded through this week amidst a mist of yawns with drowsy functioning…I’m quite sure the government has secretly squeezed two weeks into one whilst we weren’t looking… this is not to say that there haven’t been some quite delightful moments and these are the Button twinklings I would like to share with you…

On Saturday me, Pickle and Mrs Armitage all went to our local library to borrow items and join up respectively.  It will be of no surprise to you that we are all big library enthusiasts and we are worried by recent stories of library closures and reduced hours.

I had a few ideas for making things, so I decided to choose some audiobooks so I could listen to stories whilst I squirreled away with felt and thread.  I have a theory that as adults we still crave the joy we felt as children at story time… just because we get older does not mean we enjoy this luxury any less, yet it seems to fall away.  I love being read to, always have…Pickle reads to me in the bath and it’s such a treat.  In the absence of having a wonderful someone to read to you, I find audiobooks an appropriate and convenient alternative.  They are great for the walk into work…on a gloomy Monday morning who wouldn’t be cheered by the animated tones of Stephen Fry telling you fervent tales?

I listened to Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift…what an amazing book!  It went by all too quickly as I beavered away over the T-Shirt I am making for the Half Man Half Biscuit gig we’re going to (which I’m extremely excited about already).  The kids at school told me that there is a new Gulliver’s Travels film out at the cinebobs…it has Jack Black in it…I am confused about Jack Black.  I watched Be kind rewind and thought both him and the film were wonderful.  I think when he gets it right he really gets it right, but when he doesn’t he comes across as someone I would repeat don’t-sit-next-to-me-don’t-sit-next-to-me-don’t-sit-next-to-me in my head should he get on the same bus.

I went to bed early on Wednesday night and snuggled up with a cup of hot chocolate and Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot.  Such a sweet story.  I also finally finished Seeing Stars by Simon Armitage.  I had been rationing myself to one or two stories a day so I could think carefully about what I had read for the rest of the day.  I did the same with Sum:40 tales of the afterlives by David Eagleman…a book I will reread again soon…my brain loved that book.  My brain and the rest of me simply loves books…

Libraries may be entering dark days, with some holding up their Kindles by way of making light…but I love BOOKS not just the words on the page, the stories themselves, but the physical item we refer to as “Book”.  The feel of a book in your hand, the smell of it’s worn charity shop paper pages, the comfort of it resting, slightly curled in your bag, reassuring you that it doesn’t matter if you’re early to the pub to meet your friend, because here is a tiny paper friend ready to keep you entertained until the human fleshy friend arrives.  The thrill of being the first person to take out a much sort after library book, the way they sit happily together on shelves, conservatives next to labour, Clarkson next to someone who isn’t a complete twat, the Koran next to the Bible…we could all learn a thing or two from books…

11 thoughts on “Get thee to a library………….”

  1. reading on kindle or any ebook for that matter and reading a physical book. Both are entirely different, As you said, the feel of holding a book in hand and the smell of pages . it’s simply superb.

  2. It saddens me that i have to acknowledge this – despite the fact that i love physically holding a book, the heft of it, the feel of it, the way i know to turn (——) <–This big of a chunk to get to my favorite passage in it, the way i can see all my dog-ears and remember where i was when I'd last gotten to a particular passage – but all my predilections toward "A Book" in the traditional sense… are disposable to the next generation. They just don't get it, because they hadn't grown up with it, so because of this it's more than likely that we're to see them go the way of the dinosaurs.
    Maybe when we get "VR", then they'll make a come-back (Fingers Crossed).

    1. Sadly, you may be right. We’re closing libraries here in the UK – not just one here and there – but shed loads. “Borders” went bust – I suspect Waterstone’s are struggling too. A music store is now almost a thing of the past. A book store is becoming a rare thing. Maybe we’ll all get a hit like Parquel in the end.

  3. I love books, and prefer them to audio books for many reasons. I love the feel of them in my hands, smell of them (I’m weird, I know), and the older the book the better. Some of my prize possessions is a 1914 edition of Walter Scott’s “Lady of the Lake”, a partial collection of Edgar Allen Poe books from 1906 (they’re small and pink, but some of the books were missing when I found the collection in an antique store), a first or second edition of Frederick Treves’ “The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences” (its packed away so I can’t check to confirm), and a first edition of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” which I have read every October since I was 9, and I do believe needs rebinding. There’s just something special about books. I do like to be read to, and audio books are great for long drives, but I always wonder if I’m missing part of the story because of editing for time.
    Libraries are a great source of information, and its widely believed that all the information in a library can be accessed online, which is not true. A cousin of mine got a degree in journalism and I was shocked to hear that about 1/3 of the information found in libraries can be found online.
    Long story short: books are special.

    1. Thank you for your comments,chaos 5150, I agree with everything you say. I too have some old books which i just love to read above all others – a collection of Dickens from about 1920 – Thomas Hood collection , and a Robert Herrick collection from about 1900. They’re just so warm in your hand. I rarely buy just one book, it’s always 3 or 4, so I’m trying hard to keep the book shops open. Libraries are vital. There is a fight going on.

  4. This is beautifully written. Books (in their physical, many-pagéd form) cannot be underestimated. Reading is incredibly important, but there is something in a book that cannot be found or replicated anywhere else. I had no idea that the library/bookstore situation in Britain was so bad…I was shocked to learn that Kindle books had outsold paperbacks on The Kindle is, admittedly, a nifty gadget, but how can it compare to my deliciously dog-eared copy of the Mabinogion, or the hardbound ‘Works of Chaucer’ I bought when I was twelve and barely able to muddle through the Middle English? Speaking as a member of the ‘younger generation’, I’ve got 5 bookshelves packed full of books and their memories…why would I trade them for a Kindle?

    1. I agree, Jazzbard, nothing is like the book in your hand. We’re fighting a rear guard action here in the UK. I guess it’s a societal thing. But with more and more of us living longer and in rural communities cut off by poor public services the value of a library is often more than it’s books. It’s an information centre, a social place, a community centre. I was stunned when Borders went under. They had the most fantastic selection you could find. Now, it’s just Smiths and Waterstones…the former a glorified newsagents and the latter trying hard to stay alive. I shall mourn the day it goes. I hope not.

      1. That’s an excellent point…my friends and I often used to gather in libraries and bookstore cafes for discussions, but sadly, the closest one just closed. It was a wonderful place – people from all walks of life would gather there to read, write, and have discussions. My particular camerata has been forced to relocate to the local greasy spoon…and it’s not at all the same. The local Borders closed, as well…luckily, we’ve still got Barnes & Noble, though it’s a bit of a hike from where I am. What’s happened to the world, that so few people have an interest in the knowledge to be gained from reading? It used to be that everyone read. Here in the US, cowboys in the 1800s would ride the range possessing two books…the Bible and Shakespeare’s works. In the early 20th century, people still read and wrote. Now, you’re lucky if you can get a teenager to text “kthanxbai”…maybe I’m just being crotchety, but it seems like we’re heading down a slippery slope.

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