10 reasons to thank books

To celebrate Book Week Scotland this week, the Scottish Book Trust is inviting people to write a thank you letter to a book, author or fictional character that has made a difference to our lives.

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‘What a lovely, idea’ I thought, except I find it hard to pinpoint just one book or character that deserves my thanks. Books have been an integral part to every aspect of my life, so here are my 10 reasons why books deserve a big thank you from me.

  1. They’ve transported me to far away places I could never otherwise dream of visiting. The sights, the sounds and the smells of foreign lands have been recreated on public transport, in my home or in Starbucks.
  2. I’ve discovered that I’m not unusual. By being allowed inside the heads of a whole range of characters I’ve learnt that we all share the same fears and hopes, whoever we are.
  3. I wouldn’t have achieved anything without books. No exam would have been passed, no qualification obtained without opening up a book.
  4. They’ve kept panic at bay when alone at night with a baby who wouldn’t stop crying. The pages of a book can easily be flicked through one handed, while reassuring words were located.
  5. When practical advice couldn’t solve the crying I turned to the rhymes found in picture books to soothe, when I was too exhausted to find my own words.
  6. They’ve also helped me bond with my child. Our bedtime story ritual has opened up a world of conversation and shared ideas.
  7. They’ve helped me understand myself. Through being a witness to the lives of others I’ve gained the necessary perspective to step back and work out my own behaviour.
  8. The best books have helped me understand the world by mapping out the consequences of history and politics and societal change and telling the human stories behind big world events.
  9. I’m grateful that books have been a window into the lives of people I’ll rarely encounter. They’ve helped me view the intimidating drug addict on the street with more empathy, and encouraged me to consider how that smelly old man ended up drunk on a park bench.
  10. They’ve inspired me to tell my own stories.

You can submit your own “thank you” letter to books here.

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