Even in today’s 24/7, social-media obsessed society, nothing beats a good book.
Whether you’re relaxing on the sofa with an epic work from a favourite author, wading through an educational volume to learn something new or reading a six-page storybook to a tiny child, the benefits are immeasurable.
Whether you just can’t put it down or whether it’s inspired you to change your life, we owe a great debt to books and literature.
Last week over 600 events are being held across the country to celebrate Book Week Scotland.
It’s the second annual week-long focus on books which involves a vast programme of activities, events, demonstrations and talks for all ages and walks of life.
Backed by Scottish Book Trust and Creative Scotland, Book Week Scotland aims to bring people together to share their reading experiences.
Authors, poets, illustrators, playwrites and storytellers are visiting venues across Scotland, sharing their own works.
And in Falkirk, itself the subject of many a book and tale, the celebration is in full swing.
Earlier this week, libraries in Bo’ness and Meadowbank welcomed award-winning author and illustrator Nick Sharratt who has worked with big names in children’s fiction such as Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Denidation.
Scots language expert and musician Fred Freeman dropped into Larbert on Tuesday for an informative chat on the ‘mither’ tongue, and children’s author Lari Don turned Falkirk Library into a world of fairies, monsters and legends on Wednesday.
And there’s more to come.
Pop-up libraries have been springing up in the Howgate.
Today (Thursday) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the mobile library will be at the shopping centre’s community hub to give a sample of library services available including downloadable books and magazines.
There will also be free story time sessions for children at 1.30 p.m.
Vikki Ring, librarian at Denny said: “The storytelling sessions are great to get kids interested in books and in our libraries.
“We’re trying to show what libraries have to offer, and with the children, if we get them into books early, we have a reader for life.
“We’re really getting behind Book Week Scotland; we’ve tried to organise different events for each day, some for adults and some for children.
“We want to encourage people to use their libraries by giving them a taste of what is going on every day.
“It’s a free service that’s great for people, especially families.”
Children are also the target audience for an event in Larbert Library on Saturday at 11.30 a.m.
Young ones will be encouraged to read aloud to four-legged book enthusiasts.
‘Read with a Therapet Dog’ sessions are aimed at five to 10-year-olds, giving children a unique way to practice reading to a “non-judgemental” furry friend.
Budding authors will also get the chance to listen to talks from those who have achieved their dream of becoming a published writer.
Acclaimed local author Kirkland Ciccone is looking forward to talking about his own journey at Denny Bowling Club on Saturday night.
It’s a meaningful event for the young-adult writer who can’t speak highly enough about Book Week.
He said: “This kind of event is like Christmas for authors. The Scottish Book Trust is the best thing to have happened to this industry, and events like Book Week Scotland are fantastic.
“There are young people out there who want to write and get published.
“They see people like me, and hear about my journey, and they think to themselves, ‘Well if he can get published, I sure as hell can’.
“When I was young, there was no such thing as Book Week Scotland. We didn’t get to meet authors or meet and talk to people in libraries.
“But these events demystify the writing process.”
Kirkland’s debut novel ‘Conjuring The Infinite’ was published earlier this year and the book has now been nominated for a Catalyst book award.
He said: “Going into somewhere like Waterstone’s in Falkirk and seeing your book on the bookshelf is surreal, especially when you have worked so hard for it.
“Doing these kinds of talks, people may ask if I’m an author or a performer.
“I think these days you have to be a bit of both. Alan Bissett has set the bar so high, we have no choice!”
Marc Lambert, chief executive of Scottish Book Trust, said: “Book Week Scotland is about much more than celebrating the joy of reading. It is about celebrating the power of reading – the power that books have to massively increase the quality of a child’s life, to help form the bonds between a baby and their parent, to develop our powers of understanding and empathy, enlarging our social and emotional intelligence as a result.
“Book Week Scotland is a chance to get signed up to your library or dig out your old membership card, to make sure there are books in your house and to take the time to enjoy them by yourself and together with your children.”
Other events this week include antique doll collector Margaret Brodie’s talk on ‘Treasures In The Attic’ at Grangemouth Library at 2.15 p.m. today (Thursday).
For more information visit www.bookweekscotland.com or follow @BookWeekScot on Twitter.
1. Scottish Book Trust is the leading agency for the promotion of literature, reading and writing in Scotland. It develops innovative projects to encourage adults and children to read and write, supports professional writers with a range of projects, funds literature events and promotes Scottish writing.
2. Creative Scotland is the national organisation that funds and supports the development of Scotland’s arts, screen and creative industries. In 2013/14, the organisation will distribute over £100m in funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.
3. Book Week Scotland has been initiated by the Scottish Government and supported, along with a Readers in Residence programme in libraries, by £250,000 from Creative Scotland, 4. Baby rhymetime will be held at Grangemouth Library on Friday at 10.30 a.m., Falkirk Library at 10.30 a.m. and 2 p.m., and Larbert Library at 10.30 a.m on Saturday.
5. Daddy baby rhymetime is at Denny Library at 10.30 a.m. on Saturday.