As a lifelong lover of words, and the places and worlds that stories will take you, I always manage to sniff out a bookstore in any town I visit.
So when I found myself with a few minutes to spare at a local large shopping centre, I wandered into the only bookstore there, a national franchise, and browsed the aisles.
I haven't been inside a mainstream bookshop for awhile, I will usually head to my local op shop (thrift store for those in the US!) and browse the book section, my shelves at home are lined with new-to-me books in all genres (except horror - I don't do horror - there's enough right outside my door!!)
What I found along the racks was surprising, and a little disturbing!
I reckon you can gauge the state of a nation, by what lines the shelves of bookstores.
Where there was once an entire row dedicated to the classics, they were now relegated to two insignificant shelves. One entire wall was dedicated to young adult fiction. Right next to that was another towering row of Manga and graphic novels. There was a large section of adult colouring books, a host of travel guides, with the majority of the outlying shelves devoted to fiction A-Z.
Is it a reflection of our time that we consume picture books as adults rather than dispense brain power grappling to analyse and understand some of the literary giants of our time? Or has the immediacy of our age of technology, with everything at our fingertips in a fast-food generation, made our brains lazy? We don't want to expend the energy on learning new things, or grasping new concepts, because it's too hard! By the time night rolls around, the latest Netflix or some internet scrolling is our wind down. Our brains have been pounded by the multitude of tasks, so we are looking for a quick snack rather than a gourmet meal!
Books are a safe haven for me, I love the smell, (I will always open and sniff a new book - am I the only one???!!!) I love the feel of them in my hands, the weight in my lap and the expectation of disappearing into another place. The crackle of pages turning, the beauty of the dust jacket covers, and then the pleasure of the first line...ah, I cannot wait!
Living tiny doesn't mean we have to give up refining and expanding our world! There's a multitude of ways we can still luxuriate in a universe of imagination without needing another tiny to house our library! (We have a library model coming - wait for it!!)
The ABC has a remarkable article around the history of public libraries - and our great need for them to continue, even in this digital age!
In one year, there were more than 107.9 million loans of physical items and more than 34 million loans, downloads and retrievals from electronic collections.
And Australians seem to love their libraries — with more than 9.3 million registered library members, representing more than 36 per cent of the total Australian population.
Book swaps, Free Library's in small towns, downloading through Audible or Apple Books - all ways to continue your love affair with the written word if space is limited.
Readers make the best dinner party guests because they have such great breadth to share! So what worlds are you going to bury yourself in this weekend? Any recommendations??