“Small Publisher” (think small and you may stay small) Monday Books comments on the decline in sales of their ‘real’ books and the corresponding increase in sales of the ‘e book’. If you will permit me, I think I shall indulge in a little hyperbole here: this, I believe is a sign of the decline of civilisation as we know it. As a former librarian and bookseller it pains me to imagine a world devoid of books. As Frazer in Dad’s Army informs us in almost every episode ‘We’re doomed, I tell ye, dooooomed’. Family libraries should be made compulsory, ‘literacy hours’ should be held at the barrel of the gun. It’s the only way to save that endangered species: the faithful old book. We must not betray it now.
Archive for April, 2011
No one could ever claim that my mother didn’t do her best. When I was a pupil at the nearest Catholic day school, seven miles from my home, my mother bought a glossy coffee table book full of ideas for healthy but scrumptious packed lunches. Each day heralded a new and exotic type of bread: crackers, bagels, pitta bread, baguettes filled with cheeses from all around the world: brie and grape, Wensleydale and honied pickle, avocado salad. Little pots of fruit salad. All carefully calorie counted, as requested. Just thinking about them made my mouth water. My fellow students envied me. It was a sign that I was cared for, that I was loved but I didn’t see it that way. I saw it as a form of psychological torture. It was like a deadly, poisonous reptile writhing around in my school bag. The serpent in the garden calling me, tempting me. And every morning as soon as lessons began I disposed of the enemy. I gave my carefully constructed lunch box to the morose, heavyset boy who sat next to me in registration, knowing every time I did it that this was a kind of betrayal.
Is poverty really such a terrible thing? I am referring to material poverty. There are other kinds of poverty and other kinds of enrichment.