Thursday, 2 March 2017
World Book Day, Apparently
Thanks to what we now must refer to as 'social media' I discovered today is 'World Book Day.' This appears at first sight to be an attempt to get kids to read books. It seems to my little mind it ought to be aimed at adults also! A glance at the website showed me that it was to complicated to follow and contained far too much fun for my liking, so I abandoned it.
I find it surprising that such an effort is required to make kids read books. As a lazy brat I rarely read books full of words, my sister did that, but we had loads of comics to read and many 'educational' books, the type full of pictures such a encyclopedias or books on different interesting subjects as our folks wanted us to read as much as possible. Even the comics which appear so puerile in some ways today were teaching us much even if not directly.
There were a couple of books I did read, not only once either. One was 'Black Beauty,' the story of a horse about which I remember nothing even though I read it three times at least. Another was a battered old book set in some Medieval, possibly Germanic town. This concerned a young lad and his master and his adventures. However I remember nothing else about the book but there is an uncomfortable feeling that it evoked still hanging around as I think of it. The title escapes me also.
As a kid I tried to read those Enid Blyton 'Five Get Drunk' books but these were for girlies and few others come to mind outside interesting books about space travel, railways and football.
When working, aged about 16ish I read 'Days of Wine & Roses,' a book about a man who tries to stop his wife becoming a drunk, gets her out of it but becomes one himself, then when she has brought him out of it she relapses into drunkenness for good. Or at least that is how I remember it, later it became a film with an excellent Jack Lemon playing the lead, his only serious part. Another that I read at this time had a real effect on me, 'Culloden' by John Prebble. This made me aware that that battle was not between Scotland and England as I supposed, and many still do, but a civil war as Charlie Stuart attempted to take the throne. Looking back it taught me also that life is not what we think it is and neither is history. So much propaganda is shoved down our throats we do not recognise it.
I suspect some fear kids today only look at computer screens, possibly this is because that is what they see the parents doing all the time! I doubt using computers will harm kids reading, it ought to enhance it and enable them to develop good computer skills. If we only wish to encourage kids to read stories I would be against it. I am not one for story books, sorry 'novels' as most are reflections of broken lives and not worth the paper they are printed on. However there are so many things kids need to know that can only be found in books and these ought to be priorities for parents at all times. Interestingly the book day is sponsored by 'Book Tokens' and there can never be a better gift to give kids (of all ages) than book tokens, especially when used for teaching them about the world as opposed to the bile they find available shoved in front of them. Teach them, young and old, to consider for themselves.