FAIR POINT: Have books become an embarrassment?

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I WAS really saddened this week to read a study that revealed 17% of children would be embarrassed if a friend saw them reading a book.

Embarrassed to be caught reading. Imagine that.

My parents read to me from the day they brought me home from the hospital and I’ll be forever grateful to them for that. As a young child I loved escaping to the world of books and experiencing all the exciting adventures of the main characters, long before I was old enough to have my own. Books, to me, became a transportation to another world, or to parts of this one I barely knew existed at that age. Thanks to my parent’s library cards, I travelled to a strange land called Narnia and befriended a fawn by the name of Mr Tumnus. I shared a sad attic room with Anne Frank and learned the meaning of family from brave Jo March during the American Civil War. I ran through summer meadows with Anne of Green Gables, got shipwrecked with Robinson Crusoe and discovered a Secret Garden with spoiled little Mary Lennox. As I got older, I cheered on the ladies of the First Wives’ Club and willed Alex Cross to crack his latest mystery as the movie on the page played in rich colours in my mind.

My world is so much better for having books in it. I think we have a responsibility to the coming generations to ensure that, as our technology continues to advance onwards and upwards and our lives become crowded with other activities, the simple pleasure of reading is not out-dazzled by computer games, television and surfing the web.