The Book Bug

I’m sorry about vanishing off the face of the earth for the last few days. You see, I’ve caught the Book Bug. That wonderful little creature that buzzes about and quietly gives you a little nibble when you aren’t looking, making you want to read 18452 books in a week.

I’ve polished off The Hunger Games (finally) and Catching Fire. I need to go out and get Mockingjay,Β but I’m too busy gobbling up Franny and Zooey. I felt guilty, though, about neglecting my blog, and so I thought I’d leave you with a little something to spread the book love.

This was my absolute favourite as a kid.

On Television

The most important thing we’ve learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never, NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set —
Or better still, just don’t install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we’ve been,
We’ve watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone’s place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
They sit and stare and stare and sit
Until they’re hypnotised by it,
Until they’re absolutely drunk
With all that shocking ghastly junk.
Oh yes, we know it keeps them still,
They don’t climb out the window sill,
They never fight or kick or punch,
They leave you free to cook the lunch
And wash the dishes in the sink —
But did you ever stop to think,
To wonder just exactly what
This does to your beloved tot?
‘All right!’ you’ll cry. ‘All right!’ you’ll say,
‘But if we take the set away,
What shall we do to entertain
Our darling children? Please explain!’
We’ll answer this by asking you,
‘What used the darling ones to do?
‘How used they keep themselves contented
Before this monster was invented?’
Have you forgotten? Don’t you know?
We’ll say it very loud and slow:
THEY … USED … TO … READ! They’d READ and READ,
AND READ and READ, and then proceed
To READ some more. Great Scott! Gadzooks!
One half their lives was reading books!
The nursery shelves held books galore!
Books cluttered up the nursery floor!
And in the bedroom, by the bed,
More books were waiting to be read!
Such wondrous, fine, fantastic tales
Of dragons, gypsies, queens, and whales
And treasure isles, and distant shores
Where smugglers rowed with muffled oars,
And pirates wearing purple pants,
And sailing ships and elephants,
And cannibals crouching ’round the pot,
Stirring away at something hot.
(It smells so good, what can it be?
Good gracious, it’s Penelope.)
The younger ones had Beatrix Potter
With Mr. Tod, the dirty rotter,
And Squirrel Nutkin, Pigling Bland,
And Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle and-
Just How The Camel Got His Hump,
And How the Monkey Lost His Rump,
And Mr. Toad, and bless my soul,
There’s Mr. Rat and Mr. Mole-
Oh, books, what books they used to know,
Those children living long ago!
So please, oh please, we beg, we pray,
Go throw your TV set away,
And in its place you can install
A lovely bookshelf on the wall.
Then fill the shelves with lots of books,
Ignoring all the dirty looks,
The screams and yells, the bites and kicks,
And children hitting you with sticks-
Fear not, because we promise you
That, in about a week or two
Of having nothing else to do,
They’ll now begin to feel the need
Of having something to read.
And once they start — oh boy, oh boy!
You watch the slowly growing joy
That fills their hearts. They’ll grow so keen
They’ll wonder what they’d ever seen
In that ridiculous machine,
That nauseating, foul, unclean,
Repulsive television screen!
And later, each and every kid
Will love you more for what you did.

– Roald Dahl


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13 responses to “The Book Bug”

  1. mywithershins says :

    Loved the poem! I hadn’t read it before. I want to print it out for my daughter to keep in mind while raising my grandson! πŸ™‚

    • Tanya M says :

      I’m glad you liked it. πŸ™‚
      I had this taped to my wall as a kid, and I’d recite it every time I wanted my mum and dad to give me a new book. Just make sure your daughter knows that this poem can work two ways? πŸ˜›

  2. maroon5gurl88 says :

    Yep, I understand that. Thankfully my reading is helping my blog as I’ll be doing book reviews on them, but I think that’s just my excuse to read more.

    • Tanya M says :

      Book reviews? πŸ™‚
      I’ve been looking at your Goodreads page, and Shock Value looks really interesting. I think I’m going to pick that one up.
      How’s the Song of Ice and Fire going?

      • maroon5gurl88 says :

        Yeah I figured I buy so many books, might as well try to make a few of them useful for the blog. Shock Value is great and I’m on to Clash of Kings, the second GoT books and it’s slow going. It’s good but it’s pretty lengthy, I’ll be reading something easier after it lol.

        • Tanya M says :

          Haha, yeah. The series produced the same reaction in me. I raced through the first few, and then I found that I needed a break. Desperately. πŸ˜›

  3. onwindydays says :

    Wow, I miss those days where technology wasn’t so invasive in our lives. It was so awesome that feeling of being transported to another realm when reading a book, and where the story was up to the power of your imagination. But now it seems like everything has to be on some sort of ‘screen’. Oh well, times change eh?

    • Tanya M says :

      That’s true, even for those of us who read. Although I prefer a book, I can’t really stay away from my computer for too long. Or my phone, even when I know it interrupts my reading, sometimes.
      There are so many comics about the whole reading vs. T.V/Twitter thing, though. I’ll send you a link. πŸ™‚

      • onwindydays says :

        Haha, I know what you mean. Just look how much time I spend on here :/ But its all good I would think. I’ve learned a lot from others that’s for sure!
        Alright sweet, totally looking forward to it.

  4. lereader says :

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is an absolute classic.

    • Tanya M says :

      Seconded. Out of all the books I read as a kid, Roald Dahl and Enid Blyton (to a lesser degree) are the only ones I can still read now without feeling like they’re talking down to me.

Let me know what you think!

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