Thursday, 9 June 2011

Traveling Stories

Traveling Stories is a non-profit organisation started by Emily Moberly.They provide books to children who have none and try to get kids enthused about reading. Fantastic - right?

The benefits of books for children and teenagers has been everywhere recently. Books shaped my personality, they define who I am and I read more than I do almost anything else. This is a wonderful charity and I wanted to do a little something to raise awareness of it.

The other day Zoƫ Marriott wrote about how books have impacted on her and who she is as a person, I couldn't put it better so here's what she says about it.

I remember the books that changed who I am. Many of the books that I read as a child have become a part of my consciousness; The Wind in the Willows, Tales of the Early World and Lend Me Your Wings especially (I just realised all of these are animals-that-talk books, no wonder I am so loosely attached to reality).

I was very fortunate as a child to have bibliophiles for parents and so read the classics pretty young, I can't imagine not having access to literature but so many children don't. I completely love what Traveling Stories is doing and hope they continue to grow and do well.

Most of the books that I have read as an adult have affected my ideas as well. For example, Les Miserables changed how I view religion and redemption. I realised the impact Don Foster's Author Unknown had had on me while talking to fellow book-fans at a book launch event the other day. It's something I read while I was in high-school and it changed the way that I write as well as what I read. Foster shows how everything we read and consume becomes a part of our consciousness and how this impacts on writing. He uses this to trace anonymous writings back to their authors. I'm not blindly advocating post hoc ergo propter hoc but I do think that we absorb more of literature than we are really aware. I have ordered a spare copy of his book to lend out to people because I can't bear to part with mine!

The Once and Future King by T.H. White is in my top five favourite books (the exact order moved around depending on my mood). Something that Merlin says to Arthur strikes very true with the case of Traveling Stories:

"The best thing for being sad," replied Merlin, beginning to puff and blow,  "is to learn something. That's the only thing that never fails. You may grow old and trembling in your anatomies, you may lie awake at night listening to the disorder of your veins, you may miss your only love, you may see the world about you devastated by evil lunatics, or know your honour trampled in the sewers of baser minds. There is only one thing for it then — to learn. Learn why the world wags and what wags it. That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn."

There's so much we can learn from reading and Traveling Stories is a fantastic way of taking this great experience to as many people as possible.

Have a look at their website, it's a pretty amazing thing.


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