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Have we lost something?

Last night I was with Miss 7 in her bedroom listening to her do her nightly reading. She loves reading and books and I just can’t explain the joy that brings me. But I digress. As she was reading she came across a tricky word that she needed help with. The word was ‘Encyclopedia’.

What’s an encyclopedia Mummy?’ she asked inquisitively.

A small piece of me died in that moment.

As a closet or not-so-closet book ‘geek’ I hereby admit to loving encyclopedias.

Growing up I had a friend who I thought was the luckiest person in the world, as adorning her bookshelf next to her open fire place there lived a full set of ‘Encyclopedia Britannica’s’. I remember slowing down to admire their opulence each time I passed, wishing I could stop, touch their leather-bound spines and get lost within the wealth of information on each and every page.

For years I begged my Mum for a set. How I longed to have my very own Britannica’s lining our bookcase shelves. The closest I ever came was when Coles had a promotion on for Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia’s. Something along the lines of spend over $100 and each week receive a volume for only $19.95!

I wasn’t very impressed at what was my impression of the Britannica’s poor cousins Funk & Wagnall, but it was better than nothing. Although we never did end up with the full set for some reason!

Back to Miss 7’s question. I searched for a way to answer, yet with little time to think (not to mention the pressure of a demanding 7 year old with a thirst for knowledge) I lamely blurted out something along the lines of ‘Like Google before computers‘ and then cringed at the basic comprehension of my answer.

Which brings me to my question: Have we lost something?

Will my daughters one day be sitting with their daughters and their iPAD version 29 doing their nightly reading and ask ‘Mummy, what are books?’

Will libraries one day be nothing more than museums?

Will our children not ever have the chance to admire a real book? The weight witihin their hand. The feel of turning the soft, worn pages. Marvel at the wonder, creativity and information held in the black and white text within.

I really hope not. And I intend to do something about it. I will continue to take my kids to the library and explore all kinds of real books. I will continue to build up our own book shelf until it is bursting with books of all kind. And I think I will even scour eBay for a set of Encylopedia Britannica’s.


Do you think the value of real books will ever be lost?



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