Friday, 2 March 2012

Let's Be Thankful For Our Freedom of Choice

Yesterday I was chatting to a former prison librarian. It was a scary place, she said, but the library was treated with great respect. In a place where what you ate and wore was regulated, when your communication with your family and friends was limited to when the prison officers chose, when every step you took was monitored, the freedom to choose a book - any book - was relished. Even prisoners who had no real interest in reading enjoyed selecting a book.

It made me think of how we get het up over who reads what and the way some sneer at those who enjoy books we don't consider any good. It made me think of the aggression some people on both sides of the discussion display over epublishing, and how any one who makes a different choice can lay themselves vulnerable to name calling - and worse.

We are so lucky that we can write what we choose, when we choose. We can choose to follow any publishing path, and the number of options is increasing not decreasing. We can read what we like and when we like.

Let us be thankful for our freedom to choose and celebrate, not denigrate, the wonderful wide variety that the world of literature and publishing offers us.