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Into the world of books… - Editorial

17 September 2012 04:15 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Tomorrow (September 18) will see an endless river of book-lovers flooding the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) premises for the Colombo International Book Fair opening its doors to readers belonging to many generations. In Sri Lanka, September is considered the month for scribbling and the scribblers, books and writers.

Literally, it is the time for us to go back to books. Despite the disheartening words of the writers and literary critics who seem to have been disenchanted about the reading habits of people, the Colombo International Book Fair proclaims loudly the fact that we are still a nation that reads. Whether we always pick the right books is entirely another matter.




Even during the era of the iPads and tablets, the age-old paperbacks, hardcovers and leather-bounds hold a timeless charm for the reader that cannot be beaten by their most sophisticated, modern counterpart the thee-book. However, if one could leave aside the nostalgia, an e-book is greener. It takes less space and saves trees by only appearing on virtual sheets of paper. An open-minded reader will soon understand that, like Shakespeare’s rose that smells the same even with any other name, a book will have the same appeal even though its physical form changes.

Though Lankan readers are still infants to modern reading apparatus, they are by no means snails on pages. Whatever the adults say, the Book Fair will bear witness to the fact that the tech-loving youth are no book-haters. It is no fault of theirs that their first choice is contemporary literature with fast moving plots and tech-savvy protagonists. Any reader who picks a book off the shelf will want to relate to its characters in some way and they cannot be an exception.

If the adults are truly concerned about their reading habits, it should be their social obligation to guide them without cursing the inventers of the social networking sites.
At a time when people are finding it difficult to keep them from being swallowed up by soaring cost of living, purchasing of a book is a tremendous sacrifice. The picture of 154 buses over-pouring with people belong to all walks of life, will tell you that, even on empty stomachs they hunt for food for their minds and hearts.
A reader is an informed citizen and a better decision-maker. His or her ideals can change the stride of an entire nation. What makes an author a giant amid headless high-heads with soap-bubble glories is that it is the former who sheds light on the unseen for the comfort of the reader. Thus, the reader should know better than to nod in silent acceptance or be dormant to intolerable incongruities.

The time has come to shed aside the bedtime stories and read the right book.
Happy reading
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