“My cousin Helen, who is in her 90s now, was in the Warsaw ghetto during World War II. She and a bunch of the girls in the ghetto had to do sewing each day. And if you were found with a book, it was an automatic death penalty. She had gotten hold of a copy of ‘Gone With the Wind’, and she would take three or four hours out of her sleeping time each night to read. And then, during the hour or so when they were sewing the next day, she would tell them all the story. These girls were risking certain death for a story. And when she told me that story herself, it actually made what I do feel more important. Because giving people stories is not a luxury. It’s actually one of the things that you live and die for.” ― Neil Gaiman
It’s so easy to take for granted the written word and the power of stories, but this reminiscence by Neil Gaiman — one of my favorite authors — reminds me that books are vital and even indispensable in our lives and our world. Can you imagine a world without the books that tell us stories of transformation, courage and love? Who would we be if we hadn’t read and pondered books like “To Kill A Mockingbird” and “Pride and Prejudice”? What kind of world would we be living in without the inspiration of William Shakespeare or Jane Austen? I wouldn’t like to live in that world.
How about you?