Saturday 31 March 2012

Affection for fiction

Philip Hensher in an interview in The Guardian today speaks of his unshakeable affection for fiction: "It allows us to see the world from the point of view of someone else and there has been quite a lot of neurological research that shows reading novels is actually good for you. It embeds you in society and makes you think about other people. People are certainly better at all sorts of things if they can hold a novel in their heads. It is quite a skill, but if you can't do it then you're missing out on something in life. I think you can tell, when you meet someone, whether they read novels or not. There is some little hollowness if they don't."

Friday 30 March 2012

When I was a Child I read Books

"I remember once, as a child, walking into a library, looking around at the books, and thinking, I could do that. In fact I didn't do it until I was well into my thirties, but the affinity I felt with books as such preserved in me the secret knowledge that I was a writer when any dispassionate appraisal of my life would have dismissed the notion entirely. So I belong to the community of the written word in several ways. First, books have taught me most of what I know, and they have trained my attention and my imagination. Second, they gave me a sense of the possible, which is a great service-- and too often, when it is ungenerous, the great disservice--a community performs for its members. Third, they embodied richness and refinement of language, and the artful use of language in the service of imagination. Fourth, they gave me and still give me courage.  Sometimes, when I have spent days in my study dreaming a world while the world itself shines outside my windows, forgetting to call my mother because one of my non-beings has come up with a thought that interests me, I think, this is a very odd was to spend a life. But I have my library around me, my cloud of witnesses to the strangeness and brilliance of human experience, who have helped me in my deepest enjoyments of it. Every writer I know, when asked how to become a writer, responds with one word: Read. "
From award-winning author Marilynne Robinson's latest book, When I was a Child I read Books.

Monday 26 March 2012

Bookworm in India

We've been a given a lovely thank you present by Helen from Helping Elsewhere. It's a special beautiful book called The Wedding of the Frogs, and is published by Bookworm where children learn to love books. Thank you, Helen, this really means a lot to us.

Friday 23 March 2012

The £5 note

Speaking of reading in groups, and the importance of reading in general, check out the next £5 note in your possession where there's a picture of the great prison reformer Elizabeth Fry (1780-1845) reading to prisoners in Newgate.  (And by the way, every £5 donation to Give a Book gives a book to someone who really needs one.)

Wednesday 21 March 2012

Reading to Live Well

The excellent Reader Organisation is having their third national conference on May 17th. Here's the info, and we encourage you to go-- because reading matters.
With the current national highlight on the value of reading for everyone, become part of a rapidly growing wellbeing movement: reading aloud together for pleasure.

The Reader Organisation’s third national conference:
Reading to Live Well
17th May 2012, 9am – 5pm
British Library, London, NW1 2DB

Speakers include:
·         Dr Iona Heath, President of the Royal College of General Practioners
·         Jonathan Rose, Professor Jonathan Rose, William R Kenan Professor of History, Drew University, USA, and author of The Intellectual Life of The British Working Classes
·         Lemn Sissay, award-winning poet and the first to write for the Olympics 2012

Our Reading to Live Well conference is aimed at professionals working to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities – those commissioning, delivering, researching, referring or funding services – who want to learn how our pioneering project ‘Get Into Reading’ can help support service users in their recovery, improve the morale and motivation of staff involved and promote the importance of reading aloud together for pleasure.

“Get Into Reading is one of the most significant developments to have taken place in mental health practice in the last ten years.” Dr David Fearnley, Medical Director, Mersey Care NHS Trust (RCPsych ‘Psychiatrist of the Year 2009’)

“It’s like a door has opened and the light has come in.” Sue, full-time carer

Our pioneering ‘Get Into Reading’ project is delivered in all four corners of the UK, reaching people aged 3-103, in hospitals and care homes, libraries and GP surgeries, prisons and supermarkets.

“It’s given me a second chance. I feel my views are valued here.” Gary, probation centre resident and a non-reader

“I never knew this is what books were.” Ted, a literate non-reader, on reading with others

Our Reading to Live Well conference will showcase our Get Into Reading projects in London and across the UK..  We will also explain ‘how and why’ Get Into Reading works for readers and non-readers alike, and disseminate key findings of two recent research projects by the University of Liverpool on the impact of the Get Into Reading model on people with depression and dementia.

Sunday 18 March 2012

More about giving books to Mandrem

Take a look at the blog post by Helping Elsewhere to hear more about the books given to Mandrem in Goa. So good to hear how the books are received and also to hear more about this wonderful organisation. Let's hope we can do something with them again.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Technology enriches the written word...

So writes Ben Macintyre in an interesting article in The Times called "Qwerty is the key to our love of language." He says: 'Readers and writers alike should embrace each new advance in the deployment and enjoyment of words.' Check out the whole article. The conversation continues....

Sunday 11 March 2012

So can you love a library of e-books?

Article by Joanna Trollope arguing that to appreciate a book fully you 'have to feel the heft of [it] in your hand' . And a comment on the Telegraph leader page taking this up, and celebrating the new technology, for the more ways to read the better. The conversation will run and run....

Saturday 10 March 2012

Making books and the e-revolution

An interesting article today by Gaby Wood about the excellent Slightly Foxed.  Amongst other things, they now publish books: real books, printed and bound and selling like hot cakes. The conversation continues...

Wednesday 7 March 2012

Why read?

The conversation continues. An article by Keith Oatley, Professor Emeritus of Cognitive Psychology at the University of Toronto and author of Such Stuff as Dreams:  'When we read (for example) Chekhov's "The Lady with the Little Dog" we can be both ourselves and Gomov or Anna. Through stories, selfhood can expand.'