Recently, the Rotary Club of Brampton teamed up with Brampton Library and First Book Canada to deliver 230 books to Brampton Civic Hospital for patients in the paediatric and children’s mental health services.

What an inspired idea, I think. Books transport us to adventures in distant lands and imaginary worlds. They allow us to experience vicariously another’s pain or joy. And some books have the power to change the way a society thinks and acts.

To Kill a Mockingbird being one such.

It is one of my all-time favourites and my husband and I caught a performance of the play based on the novel at Stratford last year.

In the lobby were copies of the book and books on Harper Lee, the author, along with other seemingly unrelated ones. Les Miserable, Lady Chatterly’s Lover, Uncle Tom’s Cabin... and The Jungle Book.

“These were also banned once, but who knows why they banned this one,” said the chatty lady in-charge, pointing to The Jungle Book.

A few months later I read that To Kill a Mockingbird, once banned for being immoral and improper, was cause for debate at the Peel school board.

At last check, only a handful of schools in the region were willing to teach the book that was, paradoxically, voted America’s best-loved novel around the same time.

Over the years, and with not-so-gentle nudging, my sons have learned that plants and books are the gifts that earn them the most brownie points. But as a family, we are running out of space.

“We need more rooms, or rooms with more walls,” I proclaim periodically, as I survey shelves spilling over with books.

I dream of a home like the one designed by Frank Lloyd Wright that we toured in Ohio. With a long corridor, one entire wall of which was basically a continuous built-in bookshelf.

Then we reorganize, purge and donate some and create a little room for more books. But never have we thought of arranging them by the colour of their spines.

Create a spectrum of colour, gushed the writer in an article on interior design. Ideas on repurposing books – and here I thought the only thing one could do with books was read them – include turning them into headboards by nailing them onto plywood. Try reading those!

Many years ago, I’d seen piles of beautiful old hardbound books at a home decor store. But they were tied with twine, and then I realized, they weren’t there as books at all. They were to be used as a base for lamps and displays of shells and the like.

What will they think of next? Books as door-stoppers? And then we’ll pontificate about how children don’t read as much any more. 

Eid mubarak!

Shagorika Easwar

Desi News