When I was browsing some of my favorite blogs I came across this picture of two kids looking at a book that was on the ground. They wonder where “the batteries go” It made me think back to when I was a little kid. I was a big fan of reading and was devouring every book I could lay my little hands on and believe me if I tell you that it wasn’t just children’s books and comics I was reading. Countless travels I have made in my mind, Islands, planets and mountains, none of them I had visited in real life but I knew every inch of Paris before I ever had set foot in that town. Never been to space but the restaurant at the end of the universe I visited almost daily. One day I would be a pirate, the next day a private detective or spy and another day I would be an Indian (yeah yeah… Native American, I know but as a child I didn’t make that subtle difference)
I especially was fond of Fantasy and Sci-Fi. Robert A. Heinlein (Number of the beast being my favorite) and of course Isaac Asimov had a prominent place on my night stand, reading till deep in the night and Douglas Adams masterpiece “Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy with on the cover “DON’T PANIC “in bright yellow (yes that is the complete title of the first book) was I have been reading over and over again. Especially the fact that it was a trilogy in 5 parts (which makes it a pentalogy) ticked my boxes. I so wished I could lay my hands on a babelfish (yes the program is named after a fish in a sci-fi book) and be able to talk and listen to everyone in the Universe.
These book made me laugh and cry, they made me think and above all, they made me use my imagination. How a restaurant would look if it was on the edge of the universe, heck, how would the edge of the universe look? And of course the same thing happened with other books. My view of how Native Americans lived was basically taken from books like Winnetou and old Shaterhand (Carl May). Before I had seen the Giant Squid on television I already knew it from twenty thousand leagues beneath the sea. Speaking of Verne, I was sure that going to the center of the earth was possible and I have been digging a few times to see how far I could go, disappointed every time that I was exhausted after a meter or 3.
Then the movies came and I could see my stories on the big screen. What a dissolution that was. Nothing looked like how I imagined it and some stories got ruined for me for a long time. THHGTTU for example, what a pile of steaming bleep did they make of that one. Zaphod looked nothing like I had imagined him and I quickly realized then and there that movies where just a mindless timewaster. No own imagination was involved, everything was already chewed and spit out for you.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good movie as much as the next person but when it comes to movies based on books I can’t help but comparing it to my own movieinmyhead and the last one always wins. LOTR for example is a great movie trilogy but I do miss the little extra’s you read in the books. Biggest example is probably the end when Frodo and Co get back to the Shire. In the movie they just get back and a little while later Frodo and Gandalf and the elves go to “another place”. In the book however Frodo and Co get home only to discover the Shire is overrun by thugs. Bad asses that they have become they kick the lot out of town and I can tell you that this was a particular scene I was waiting for the entire trilogy, no kidding, AND THEY LEFT IT OUT AAAAAARGH.
Books are great and I still like to read them once in a while and it still is making me travel to places I never thought I see. Currently I am busy with the Dragan Duma trilogy by Patty van Delft. Ok one is published, the second part is in proofreading stages (and I am one of the lucky proof readers) and I guess part three is in the making, if not on paper then at least in Patty’s mind. I know you all like to read, after all you made it this far so be smart, pick up a book sometimes and read. Be smarter and pick up a book and read it to your children and/or grandchildren. Help them develop their imagination, have them eating at the restaurant at the edge of the Universe. Have them battle dragons, have them sail the seven seas. They will grow up not only with imagination but, provided you pick the right books” with passion, understanding, empathy and respect. Reading is awesome, don’t let books disappear