Gladys Hunt on an Exaggerated Demise

3 minutes, 33 seconds Read

Back in 2009, experts were predicting physical books and libraries would soon be outdated. Gladys Hunt begged to differ . . .

The post Gladys Hunt on an Exaggerated Demise appeared first on Redeemed Reader.

Editor’s Note: “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated,” wrote Mark Twain, in response to a mistaken obituary. Likewise the reports of the death of physical books. This month, our Honey for a Child’s Heart read-along looks at Chapter 9, “Fresh Ways to Read.” These include audio books and graphic novels as well as ebooks, all of which have only enhanced and expanded the experience of reading. Books are here to stay.

The demise of books?

Gladys Hunt

Originally published on the Tumblon website, March 10, 2009

For all the dire predictions about the demise of books because everything is going digital, the number of libraries is increasing. Bookstores are crowded with people reading comfortably in overstuffed chairs or lingering over a cup of coffee talking books with friends. Back in the 1960s before the internet existed Marshall McLuhan predicted the death of books—and then wrote about ten books to prove his theory! (He was right, though, about the changes coming in communication.) Books are here to stay. Kindle notwithstanding, it’s hard to cozy up under a tree with a computer.

Most every community now has an accessible branch library. The library in the small village near our summer cabin used to be in one stuffy, crowded room in the community hall. To say that it was not inviting is an understatement. Now thanks to a generous donation from a long-time summer family, the town has a state of the art building which has become the center of activity for the town. The reading habits of people have changed drastically in this village. You will find town after town across the country where new libraries are in progress—and we need to be concerned for those places where people lack access to a good library. The future of our country depends on it.

tree grows in brooklyn

Books have a magical way of taking people out of the smallness of themselves. Take the example of Francie from A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Her under-privileged, unstable life is completely transformed by her love for books. No matter that it was 1930 and she was poor and lived in a tenement. Books gave her a way out of her life.

I thought the same thing about Anne of Green Gables who babbled away to Matthew who agreed to take her home from the orphans train, even though she wasn’t a boy. Anne’s spunk, her free spirit, her dreams about all she would become came from the stories she had read.

Reading Lolita in Teheran is the story of an Iranian literature teacher who meets with a group of women students in her apartment to read and review books together. These women by necessity arrive escorted by a male relative, covered with their dark chadders, afraid of the decency police on the streets. It is a story of how reading books gave these women a sense of freedom, of worth and purpose.

The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society tells the delightful story of how reading books sustained a motley group of people living on Guernsey Island during the German occupation in World War II. In a real sense it kept them alive.

The listing of such stories could go on and on. And it is not just in stories that this is true. Books do that for all of us in our diverse lives. Stories get us outside of our own skin. It makes the world bigger and more understandable.

© Gladys M. Hunt 2008-10, reissued in 2022 with minor adjustments with permission of the Executor of the Literary Estate of Gladys M. Hunt (4194 Hilton SE, Lowell, MI 49331). Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Also at Redeemed Reader:

  • I’m glad my own fears about the digital revolution didn’t pan out. See “Brave Little Digital World.”
  • Summer road trips are a great way to explore audio books! See our Road Trip Recommendations. And we have plenty more where that came from: type “audio books” in the search box and see what comes up.

The post Gladys Hunt on an Exaggerated Demise appeared first on Redeemed Reader.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Ninja Silhouette 9 hours ago

Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

Joe Doe in London?

Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

Joe Doe in London?

Joe Doe in London, England purchased a

Joe Doe in London?

Joe Doe in London, England purchased a