To read, or not to read, that is the question. In a new and ever expanding world of movie magic, where CGI has taken the film industry into a stratosphere of its own, some might find themselves concluding, that the once inflatable notion of books becoming irrelevant, might just be an unavoidable reality. Movies have taken their place as king of the jungle, creeping up ever so slowly, a lion stalking its prey, ready for the most vulnerable moment to pounce. That time, I’m afraid to say, may well be upon us, and it’s left many asking: what’s the point of reading? I can just watch the bigger, badder brother. It’s more visually thrilling, after all. And really, who has time to read anymore? We’re all entirely too busy. The world is speeding up, work days are longer, children are more time consuming, all the usual excuses. So why not sit back and enjoy two hours of mind numbing television, where the weight of the world falls away. There’s no children, no work, no distractions. You are, for the briefest of moments, free from the stress that has you slowly turning grey well before your fortieth birthday. Life is nothing more than a bowl full of popcorn and a Malteser away from you unbuttoning your pants.

Pure, unadulterated Bliss. Am I right? 

But that is only one side of an all consuming conversation. A conversation I have had on far too many occasions. If I was to flip a coin that had a movie on one side and a world of life changing imagination on the other, I know to which side I’m hoping it will land. Some might say that a movie is easier, quicker, to that I would shout blasphemy. Not for all the sunken treasure in Davy Jones’ locker would I choose a movie, no matter how spectacular it is, over the pages of my favourite books. Time slows down when I delve deep into the multilayered imagination of one J.R.R. Tolkien or in more recent times, Sarah J. Maas. I live in those moments right beside my favourite characters. Fighting, loving, or simply just exploring. I am there and nothing can take that away from me. Life doesn’t melt away, my brain does not cease to function like those hours spent in the dark watching a movie, no, when I read, I soar to the days of the Roman Empire, or battles waged between Vikings. I can see myself boarding the train to Hogwarts. I am the devious rabbit coaxing Alice down that darn hole. Books do not help us to forget the world, they help our world to ignite and grow. To flourish and spin. To dance on the clouds of a rainbow-filled sky. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good movie just as much as the next man, but If I was given the choice . . . then, to put it simply, I will just say, there would be no choice.

The day I get to read stories, or simply make them up––as my father did for me––to my children, that is the day I get to pass down unseen worlds for them to explore. When they dream, they will swirl through the pages of hope, rather than the never ending onslaught of despair that is forever displayed on our television screens. Books are a gateway to realms unseen. They exhilarate us with passion and test our knowledge in lessons unknown. Books are sunlight in a dark world that fills its history with war and corruption. If, for just one hour a day, we swapped our children’s iPads with the pages of a book, then you might find a shift in a generation of kids that may well determine the fate of the earth we live on.

The inner workings of an authors’ mind is a gift, and, for the most part, is the reason for the majority of good movies in today’s society. Without the dreamers––the men and women who sit for hours, weeks, months, even years, and write down the words of that inner voice that whispers to them as they lay in bed hoping to sleep––then there is a good chance the movie industry would not be the mega power it is today.

So, do yourself a favour and pick up a book. Even if you read one page a night, once you start, you will never stop. Let’s all work towards finding our inner child, our long lost imagination, because all children, even the one hidden deep in our past, deserves to have their needs satisfied. Believe in fairytales, for time cherished in an unconscious stupor, is nothing compared to a lifetime spent conscious in the deepest recesses of your imagination. Be the best version of you and know, happiness is only a daydream away.         

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