Today is it appears World Book day. This sounds good to me but it appears this is directed only at children! That is somewhat annoying! Books are so important as they open the world to us. Everything involving human life, both good and bad, can be found on convenient small paperback books somewhere in this world. I accept that most waste their lives by reading story books rather than something useful but nonetheless a vast library is available to us all.
It is a wonder that writing took so long to emerge some three and a half thousand years BC. The needs of trade among a growing population brought versions of writing into use in what is now south Iraq then India and China and South America. The style was very different from today and tales until then spoken or acted by travelling minstrels were written down on a variety of materials. The clay tablets bearing Cuneiform writing found in Nineveh in the 19th century were only part of a huge library Assurbanipal collected during his forty year rein. What is lost is the parchments that decayed during their stay under the sand or indeed were burnt during the loss to the victorious Medes an Persians. The fantastic thing is that we can read their words today - in translation! While no Akkadian books gather dust on the shelf those written in Greek or Latin do. Not only but once copied laboriously onto long scrolls by hand we now have the delight of the concise books we see above. How much easier it is to read today than it was 500 years B.C?
There is a strange fascination in reading the words of those who lived thousands of years ago. No longer just a dot in history but a real individual struggling with the same problems facing us today, but with less complicated technology. The sad thing is that many did not leave behind writing, often just designs on walls and large structure difficult to interpret. If only Stone Age man could have found a way of communicating with us, or the people who wandered over the earth into China or South America. What stories they could tell. Indeed they would have been telling stories to one another, the lure of the 'soap opera' sadly is always with us! Tales of daring do, romance and history of the people must have been told and retold for centuries before writing arrived. Some are still kept in the tribal tales of some peoples.
This World Book Day sounds as if they are scared kids do not read but as billions of books are thrust at them each Christmas and many happily read daily I see no problem. They must use computers, there is no way of avoiding this, but they do read that is why so many books for the little horrors exist. The brighter child reads about the subject that interests him, the dumb one reads stories but they read and this can only be a good thing. One day this will pay off when reading the small print on all those documents that we face in our free world!
Oh and by the way, this one is still available:- Amazon