Thursday, 26 September 2013

A Room Without Books is Like a Body Without a Soul

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
― Philip Pullman

People see books in various ways. Some see them as a vague distraction to pass the time on the train, some see them as a bit of light entertainment and others see them as an endless number of worlds to dive into and explore. I definitely fall into the latter. I have yet to meet anyone who has never, at some point in their life, been captivated by a book. One of the first things my step-niece (then 3 years old) asked me when she met me? Whether I would read her a story (then another, and another, and another). Who wasn't on the edge of their seat as Frodo struggled with the ring's growing control over him on his mission to destroy it? Who didn't laugh along with the Weasley twins as they made the greatest exit Hogwarts had ever known? Who doesn't feel a little wiser after spending some time with Atticus Finch or more willing to question their world after experiencing Winston Smith's Oceania?

But whether you see books as just something to prevent you making eye contact between Piccadilly and Paddington or whether you see them as so much more, you can't deny that books teach you lessons. Important lessons. Lessons about courage, friendship, love, morality, freedom, choices, loss, facing the consequences of our actions... the list is endless. Without the stories that kept me enthralled for so many years I would have learned these lessons far too late and I would have lost out on opportunities, friends and who knows what else? I certainly wouldn't be here, right now, able to tell people that I'm part of a group who met through shared love of a book series and decided to turn that love into so much more. Within weeks of meeting we have already collected over 650 books for various charities, hoping they will get even a fraction of the joy from these stories that we did. And we have so much more planned.

To put it simply, we're taking our passion for something we love, something that made our individual worlds and lives better, and using that passion to help other people. And that's something pretty special as far as I'm concerned.

So please, pick up a book, get lost in that world, then when you're finished come bring it along to the London Loveiosa book drive in King's Cross Station to share the stories you love with Londoners in need.

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