A Dying Art

Disney’s Belle is one of the best fictional bookworms around. When the Beast gives Belle her very own key to his magnificent library, cream-coloured double doors open to showcase paintings, a writing desk, a spectacular fireplace, spiral staircases, floor rugs, and some reading chairs on the colourful ceramic floor. But most importantly, the walls are filled with endless books.

“I can’t believe it! I’ve never seen so many books in all my life!” Belle exclaims when she sees it for the first time.

If you are like Belle and would rather be curled up in a cosy library with your nose in a book, then you would understand the joy in her heart at the time.

When I hear someone say they are not a reader, I find myself thinking they just haven’t found their genre yet. I believe everyone can be a reader if they only just find a book they like.

Unfortunately reading books is on the decline, as is the art of letter writing. I sometimes wonder how is it possible that in the era of candlelight, with no electricity, people seemed to get more of both done?

Before the electronic age, everyday reading was a ritual that almost everyone did. There was no need to remind people of the benefits of reading. Most even had specific reading nooks in their homes.

I know a family who, after dinner is cleared away, sit down in the same room to spend the evening together, reading books. At wintertime the fireplace accompanies them, in summer just a cold glass of lemonade. It would be easy to think that reading books can only be a solitary exercise, yet this family has made it an activity they all enjoy doing side-by-side.  

I find reading inspires and expands my own original thoughts. It also helps me escape all the hustle and bustle of everyday nonsense. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of life’s darkest of places. On top of that a good book is a cost-effective way to have time away, it’s almost like having a holiday.

Having a Belle’s Library might not be achievable for most of us, but we can still curl up in our favourite armchair and create a relaxing ambiance. Belle’s ability to escape into her own world with one flick of a page, speaks to the power of literature.

So, let me encourage you to leave that TV screen off tonight and delve into the wonderful world of reading. Like Belle says: “Your library makes our small corner of the world feel big”.

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