Monday, November 4, 2013

Neil Gaiman on books and reading

Neil Gaiman, prize-winning writer of young adult fiction, spoke recently in England about the importance of letting kids read whatever they want - not forcing them to read what YOU think is good literature. And then:
Gaiman said physical books were here to stay. He recalled a conversation with Douglas Adams more than 20 years ago in which Adams said a real book was like a shark. "Sharks are old, there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs and the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is. Physical books are tough, hard to destroy, bath-resistant, solar operated, feel good in your hand – they are good at being books and there will always be a place for them.
Gaiman said reading fiction was one of the most important things people can do and he was passionate in his defence of libraries, the closure of which was stealing from the future, he said. "It is the equivalent of stopping vaccination programmes. We know what the results are. In order to remain a global power, in order to have a citizenry that is fulfilled and fulfilling their responsibilities and obligations, we need to have literate kids."

Wonderful words. I could not agree more about physical books. And in the next paragraph, please remove the word 'fiction.' Reading is one of the most important things people can do, and there's lots to read that isn't fiction. 

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