BOOKS · THE ART OF HAPPINESS

The Happiness Project: The Beauty of Libraries

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“My own appetite for knowledge and reading and connection had led me, and that is how education works, not by spoon-feeding, but by stimulating the appetite so that children cannot wait to feed themselves… Great Writers, I discovered, were not to be bowed down before and worshipped, but embraced and befriended..”. Stephen Fry.

My new favourite place to take Maia? The library. Rain or shine this magical place never fails to bring a smile to her little face, and I happen to love it in there too. Everything from the friendly atmosphere, the variety of people, the lovely little children’s corner, and of course, the choice of books to borrow FOR FREE. There’s not much you can get for free these days, so much like motherhood, I intend to embrace the library and all its wonderful perks. I could ramble on for pages on the importance of reading, the joy of a good book, but we all know why we love to read.

Stephen Fry puts it much more eloquently:

His take on Libraries: “They are still to me places of incredible glamour, possibility, power, excitement and pleasure.”

“…those magical municipal labyrinths whose shelves contain so much and the existence of which for the better part of two hundred years has so immeasurably improved the quality of so many millions of ordinary lives.” 

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It’s easy nowadays to get lost in the world of technology, and I can’t complain about the digital age for I revel in it. I appreciate the many fountains of entertainment, information and wisdom at our fingertips. But my hope is that we don’t forget something that came before computers, phones and photography, before Apps and even electricity… My hope is that we don’t forget about books. 

I suppose it doesn’t matter how the words are read, whether they’re on a screen or sheets of paper bound together, it shouldn’t make a difference. Maybe I’m just old fashioned, but the idea of reading Maia bed time stories from a Kindle in a strange press-button-once-to-turn-a-page fashion – does not excite me. I like pages – made from paper, I like the simple act of turning a page and I like seeing -physically- where I am in a book. – None of these things can be done using an electronic device. I don’t care how much it weighs or how skinny it is. (I also like arranging my books into little piles with an unnecessary object – like a candle- placed neatly on top, small photograph of a loved one nearby. – Picture perfect little set up. – Now you can’t do that with a Kindle..)

After having Maia I decided; I would read whenever I could, as much as I could. I have plenty of catching up to do. By this I mean, I’ve yet to read many of the greats, and how do I teach Maia about the world’s greatest writers if I haven’t yet read their most famous works? Thankfully -as well as my parents’ ever growing number of wonderful classics- we also have our magical little library just down the road. – And a special someone’s literary adventure has just begun….


“So, please, oh please, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away, and in its place you can install, a lovely bookcase on the wall”. Roald Dahl

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