For all the hand-wringing about the death of the written word, books remain extremely popular.
For all the hand-wringing about the death of the written word, books remain extremely popular. Eva-Katalin

When the power of words can save you

Folks, to me hell is a place without a single book in it. Pretty much like the situation you find in most people's homes today.

I couldn't imagine my life without several books being close to hand. In fact, I once got stuck in a lift for several hours and nearly went out of my mind. When the door was finally levered open I fell through the gap gabbling, "A book! A magazine! A shopping catalogue! Anything!”

Honestly, I was so desperate I'd have read a HR policy document; twice.

Much later, when I discovered books could be loaded into my mobile phone, it took ages to wipe the smile off my dial. I would never have to suffer having to listen to my own thoughts ever again, unless my phone battery went flat.

Today, for all the hand-wringing about the death of the written word, books remain extremely popular.

Because books are survivors, they've always been at the cutting edge of technological change.

Whether they were etched on clay tablets, vellum, papyrus or rice paper, information, stories and fables have been captured for the ages on a variety of media by devoted scribblers.

When Johannes Gutenberg invented the printing press back in the fifteenth century it revolutionised the publishing world overnight. Good ol' Jo brought books to the common man and put quite a lot of not-so-common men out of work overnight, aka: monks.

Hopefully some of them got jobs as printers or librarians.

Even now, in these enlightened times, in spite of movies, TV and social media, books continue to morph into e-yarns or podcasts.

In fact, there are so many books nowadays I find if I'm not immediately engrossed by the end of the second paragraph of the first chapter, then I'll toss it over my shoulder (metaphorically if it's on my phone) and start a new one.

Life really is too short to read a bad book. Unless you're stuck in a lift.