Neil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

Neil Gaiman’s impassioned talk on the importance of reading and daydreaming as a gateway to our imaginations. I feel I could have written this (though not quite so eloquently) in the sense that I agree with pretty much everything he says. I’m sure a lot of you do too. He says that he attended a talk on building prisons in the US, and the speaker could roughly predict the number of prisoners over the next 15 years, based on how many 10- to 11-year-olds couldn’t read. Worth reading.

“[F]iction build[s] empathy. When you watch TV or see a film, you are looking at things happening to other people. Prose fiction is something you build up from 26 letters and a handful of punctuation marks, and you, and you alone, using your imagination, create a world and people it and look out through other eyes. You get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. You’re being someone else, and when you return to your own world, you’re going to be slightly changed.”

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