Saturday, May 05, 2007

tread softly

I recently watched a programme called The Human Footprint. It offered visual reconstructions of my wildest dreams and my worst nightmares. It also clarified one big reason why I regularly feel at odds with my world.

Apparently in the UK 3% of the population cannot read at all. But more worrying is that 40% can but choose not to read. And worst of all, more households own 2 cars than 2 novels.

Based on these statistics they calculated that the average citizen would use the equivalent of 24 trees to manufacture their lifetime reading needs.

On average I digest about 50 books a year - so I guess I will destroy way more trees than most people. This is not good - I love reading, but I love trees too. But I guess I can take solace in the fact that I am a great recycler of books.

Books are beautiful when they are new, crisp clean tight white pages held firm in unbroken covers. But somehow they are even better when they come with a history. With other readers thumbprints laid gently on the edges of the pages, other peoples exclamations and sighs tickling the margins. Their bindings a little looser from the distances they have travelled. Their corners a little bent from the spaces they have jammed into. (and what goes for books also goes for people - I prefer recycled friends)

And then I realise its not just books I love to recycle. Its their components too. Playing anagram games with letters - the taste of tongue twisters. Stirring words to make new sentences from old recipes. Mix and match questions and answers - a game of snap played by the wrong rules, where you cant cheat but you always win.


J. Andrew Lockhart said...

Now you have me thinking!

dandelion said...

'Stirring words to make new sentences from old recipes' and you are a very good chef who makes some tasty delights...x

Ashi said...

I for on can't imaging a world of mine without books - I remember a few times (you do not get these books anymore) reading a brandnew book cuting the pages while reading.

Lucyp said...

I watched the Human Footprint and after the part which said we ate the equivalent of 15 Cows, 25 Sheep and 17 lambs i turned to my husband, tapped his expanding middle aged spread and said, "Also known as your dinner'.
Yes, he did swear at me.

Crafty Green Poet said...

I'm with you totally on this post. I love second hand bookshops and sending books on journeys with Bookcrossing so you can follow where they go and hopefully find out what people thinkk of them. Yes I love the playing with what I read too, but then sometimes feel guilty if that comes out as a poem...