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For the love of books

POSTED July 19, 2011 10:12 p.m.

The news that Turlock’s Borders bookstore will be closing its doors is not only a tragedy to the city’s economic development, but also a hit to literacy.

Books are more than just paper and ink; they are keys that unlock the imagination of the reader. When a child reads a book, or is read to, it creates pathways in the brain that fuel the creative juices that are so valuable later in life.

The closing of Turlock’s only store that was dedicated to the sale of new books feels like the end of an era. That this closing is happening just days after the final Harry Potter movie hit theatres makes it seem doubly so.

 Just a generation ago, the idea that computers would be the end to childhood reading seemed very real. Then J.K. Rowling released “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” and reading was given new life. Suddenly, the culture of the Millennial Generation included the reading of every Harry Potter book, as well as a constant connection to the online world through smart phones.

I’m not sure my 19-year-old daughter would be the voracious reader she is today without Harry, Hermione, Ron and their adventures at Hogwarts.

I know many of you — who are probably reading this column on the Journal’s website — are thinking that e-books are just as good as those printed the old-fashion way, and better for the environment.

I beg to differ. Reading is an experience, not just the transfer of information from one source to another. When a parent or grandparent sits in his or her favorite chair, pulls a young child close and then opens the cover of a cherished tale, the magic really begins. The sharing of classic stories from one generation to another in the most personal of ways cannot be replicated with zeros and ones.

A family huddled around a computer screen to read “Goodnight Moon” just isn’t the same as hearing the rhythmic turning of pages as a young one slowly closes his eyes for a good night’s rest.

This is why we should fight tooth and nail to hold on to every book store and library we can. Hopefully, those of us over 30 will not have to fight this battle alone.

I call upon all those enchanted by Potter and his wizarding ways to carry the torch of literature into the next era. Fight for the right to read a book — cover to cover.

I have faith that the Potter generation will not only carry on their love of books, but will be the source of the next great literary phenomenon.

In the meantime, I encourage every reader to visit Turlock’s remaining bookstore, Lightly Used Books, located at 141 N. Center St. — and support the public library.

I check out at least 10 books from the Turlock Library and purchase two every month. Through reading I have been transported to every country around the world and a few that could only exist in the minds of authors.

If you haven’t browsed a bookshelf lately, you don’t know what you’re missing!

To contact Kristina Hacker, e-mail khacker@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2004.

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