Photo by Mikhail Pavstyuk on Unsplash
When ‘Talkies’ – films with sound - came out in the 1920’s, many claimed no-one would read any longer. When Alexander Bell created the telephone, many in society thought we were all “doomed”, and when television was first aired - there were again dire warnings about the effect on memory, on society and … on our ability and desire to read. And on and on – for every new invention, every new wondrous piece of technology there were the scare stories and frequent thought that our love of the written word was at risk.
Equally, pundits have claimed that the book industry would fail, that no-one would read or need anything as old fashioned as a book, let alone a printed book. Instead, publications in the 2000s are at an all time high with sales increasing every year. So too are the vast number of titles and new authors, so many of them excitingly re-inventing the format and style of the traditional novel. It is thought that everyone has at least one book in them and so very many of us are keen to have a go - attending classes on writing style, plot creation, character creation and assassination, the benefits of writing in the first, second or third person!
Booklovers Silk Chiffon Scarf
Kindles have even further expanded our desire for the written word and not had much effect on reducing the volume of printed books. And, of course, the internet, online newspapers & magazines and blogs like this one, fulfill so many of our own individual desire to write, to make connections between thoughts using the written word. It is now so much easier to put one’s thoughts out and about, to research online, to argue and cogitate in print and online.
Self-publishing has given the opportunity to so many to write – from creating their own novels, to finally setting down the poetry which has been bubbling up in them for so long. It gives elderly people the magical chance of writing down a lifetime of experiences for their immediate family to read and to understand - and also adds a wealth of written experience of our society, of monumental and simple events, making social history accessible to so many. And when self-publishing allows individuals to print as few as 10 copies of a book at a time, the sky is the limit for what we can each add to the written page.
Jane Austen Oak Leaf Tie
We have always loved to read, the advent of branded breakfast cereals and the incredible value of the advertising on the back of the boxes was testament to the need that we all just have to read something, anything, even when we are still bleary eyed with sleep. Of course, the puzzles and games added to the value of the brand, made everyone look – but the cereal companies realised that they had a captive audience and this would not just be held with pretty pictures, we needed to read!
Look up and down the carriages on any commuter train, most people are reading - newspapers and their phones – catching up on the vast amount of information which has accumulated since the evening before.
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Writing and reading stimulates our imagination, allows each one of us to create our own mental pictures, our own imagery from the words in front of us. And modern technology allows us to make our computers and phones talk - fantastic for those with difficulties reading, with sight problems and for those who just need to give their eyes a rest.
The written word is more loved and vital than ever and with huge annual book festivals like the Hay Festival – 23rd May to 2nd June 2019 – will continue. Set in spectacular countryside with the beautiful Hay-on-Wye at its centre, this book festival is in its 31st year. Drawing around 80,000 visitors of all ages and from all around the world to sit at the feet of literary greats, to argue, to discuss and to enlighten on the written word.
Shakespeare Manuscript Silk Tie