Lend your BooksOctober 01, 2014

"We used to build civilisations. Now, we build shopping malls."

- Bill Bryson, author and university chancellor

October is designated as Buy Nothing New Month. What began as a poll turned into a campaign. It can be related to causes promoting conservation, but this is about a cure to affluenza.

There's nothing wrong about buying something. In fact, many of us feel good about it. (Talk about instant gratification.) Some will point out that we are living on limited resources, and our unlimited desire to consume them can lead to our downfall. Furthermore, we've been taught to live within our means. As we grow older, we learn to prioritise the things we really need. Those not that important can wait. But a book is hard to categorise.

Many people spend a small fortune on books, which is commendable. Some books we love to read over and over again, while others gather dust. Now is the time to breed a new set of Joneses. Instead of planning to buy new releases, why not let go some of your books? How about donating some to those who need it? Before making an objection, think about making a difference. Here are the reasons:

Sharing builds relationship. Never underestimate generosity - and don't expect anything in return. Your family will love you, your mates will think fondly of you. As for those who don't know you at all, then it's the deed that counts. Lending your book is not only a money saver, but it will also give you a chance to check your shelf. Nothing better than keeping your books in good condition.

Knowledge for everyone. There's no use keeping the knowledge to yourself. Sharing your ideas on social media is not a substitute. (This is debatable, but personal contact do make a difference.) A book can be a good conversation during a gathering (and this not only applies to lectures). If you're not sociable, then giving your books to the local library is the next best option. In this age of Internet, your librarian is still relevant.

Different points of view can be rewarding. Art is subjective. In the case of books, our personality and beliefs colour the author's view. No two individuals have the same perspective. Talking about it will give you a better appreciation of a reading material, but you might want to loan your copy first.

Keep ignorance at bay. Most things are accessible, which we should be grateful about. But this is not the case in some parts of the world. We can only see it when we're in front of the telly, we found out the details while meandering the Internet. No one is telling you to do something about it, but look at your shelf. Think how it can help others. Look for a group who needs it. Ask anyone you know.

It's your turn to suggest. You might have better ideas.

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