The Significance of Books

Recently I had a discussion with someone on the significance of books. It proved to be a rather interesting conversation and I wanted to share some of it with you. So below, find the more interesting points we talked about.

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Book are so much more than letters on a page.

The first and obvious one we brought up was the Christian bible. Let me make this abundantly clear that I am not trashing or promoting religion or politics with this post, I am pointing out how books influence us and the bible is a book. Also for the sake of keeping this post short I’m going to assume you know at least the basics of Christianity.

Regardless of what you believe about the bible it has had a major impact on society and history. This includes the Crusades in medieval times (campaigns to find the Holy Grail) to current times where all manner of things are accepted or denied because of it (think abortion, divorce and same sex marriage to name a few). It is also responsible for at least two major holidays in Western culture, Easter and Christmas. Millions of people the world over celebrate these days and the information that is in this book influences their day to day life. People literally live according to what is written in the bible. Now if that isn’t a book having a strong influence I don’t know what is.

To me the above is an obvious example because a lot of people consider it truth (Once again, this post is not debating that. Some people think this, some don’t. End of discussion). The next example is most definitely fiction but I would still argue it has influence. Let me explain. This next example is a series of books that has spawned a multi billion dollar industry employing thousands of people. That’s pretty significant, but it has also done more than that. It has introduced a new generation to the wonder of the written word and sparked their imaginations.

It has inspired people to create art, music and write their own stories. There is clothing dedicated to the characters and the books, as well as other accessories. People who have never read the books or seen the movies made from them know about the boy who lived and he who shall not be named. I am of course talking about Harry Potter. Why and how is this significant?

For starters there is the obvious economic impact. This story about a boy who became a wizard has employed thousands of people, giving them money which they then spend elsewhere. These jobs weren’t there beforehand, they exist solely because of this story being published and being hugely successful.  If nothing else this is something to take notice of. Then there is the way it is impacting education.

The first book was published in 1997 and the children who first read that are now having children of their own and also teaching children. This is where I think it becomes more significant. It has become a tool in the classroom to teach children English and the all important skill of reading. Children like things to be fun and Harry and his friends have all manner of fun and also get to be the heroes that save everyone. Reading is a fundamental skill in life and personally I think that anything that gets children interested in reading should be harnessed and used.

What do you think about the significance of books? Let me know in the comments and happy creating.

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