Monday, 5 May 2014

The Death of Books: Why Stories Never Die

Books are aestetically pleasing at times. And $1. If found at Library Sales.

 I've had a bunch of people tell me books are dying. That I should write for ebooks rather than with traditional publishing in mind. I've had them ask me why I read on my tablet more than "real" books.

I've had a tablet for a year. It's a less back-breaking version of my laptop or carting around my one hundred-some hard copy library. Does it replace my laptop? Nope. So why should a tablet replace my hardcopy books?

Besides, books are not dead yet. That's all I am going to say. Nor are they going to die any time soon.

But frankly, I think people are caught up in the whole: "books are stories and so stories must only be books," frame of mind.

Slow down a moment now. Remember, books are made of paper bound together with a combination of glue and string that I don't have the expertise to explain. Stories, are words strung together by a theme, a lesson, a plot, a character, a setting, something which makes them interesting to listen to, something which tells, reminds us, opens our eyes to our world, our lives and who humans truly are.

In summary: Books are physical objects which recorded stories for many people. Stories are the spirit of humanity which filter throughout our consciousness whether or not they are repeated, passed on or developed.

So, why is there all this crying and moaning about how the world is going to get stupider just because stories might not come packaged in tidy rectanglar stacks of squished trees and ink?

Then there's the whole battle between non-fiction and fiction (which doesn't even tip toe near the snobbishness of the literary lauders versus the genre geeks).

A Story is A Story. It is telling you something. It is making you learn something. Whether the lesson is smacked on your forhead with the name of Aesop, or through the biography of Mandela, the life of a vegan or the trials of the Fellowship as they take a dangerous tool to its destruction or the rapid-fire deductions and haunted hound adventures of Sherlock Holmes, you are being confronted with humanity.

It might teach you to think before you act, it might inspire you to stand up for your beliefs, it might open your eyes on another persons perspective, it might teach you to never give up and always hold to hope or it might make you more observant of your surroundings and the effects they have on you and others.

In short. Stories. No matter what label you stick to them give you a way to learn and grow. All without having to go out and fall off a cliff to know why to be careful when you walk near one. That is not to say people might still go out and try crazy things because a story inspired them to do it, but hey, that's also part of being a listener of stories. You might need to recognize starting a revolution like the characters of Les Miserables is possibly not the best thing to do just because you had a disagreement with someone. In short, you need be a critical thinker. If you can do that. Well, you can do anything with stories. Even the crappy ones that have Mary-Sues dropped into the world of Middle Earth. You might just learn how to edit.

So there you have it. Are books dead? Maybe they will be. Maybe never.

What won't die, no matter what form it takes, (how about oral storytelling), are stories.

Well, okay. The day stories die humans probably be long dead too. Unless there are other sentient beings out there who tell stories. It's possible. But that's for another day.

Telling stories. Always.

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