Neil Gaiman tells why our society needs fiction and imagination to thrive - New York News

Neil Gaiman tells why our society needs fiction and imagination to thrive

Updated:

By: Amanda Taylor, Deseret News

"Once you've visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in," author Neil Gaiman said in a recent speech, recorded by The Guardian. "Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different."

The writer, who has authored short fiction, comic books, novels, graphic novels and films, spoke to the Reading Agency in London about the future of libraries and reading.

"Fiction has two uses," Gaiman said. "Firstly, it's a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it's hard, because someone's in trouble and you have to know how it's all going to end … that's a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you're on the road to reading everything. And reading is key."

Gaiman's book "Neverwhere" was recently banned in New Mexico. One parent told local news, "I cannot read this to you and put it on the news. It's too inappropriate. It's that bad." The mother went on to say that she didn't have time to see what her daughter was reading, and relied on the school district to do it for her.

In his speech, Gaiman said children should be allowed to explore the world of fiction as the pleased, without anyone looking over their shoulder.

"It's snobbery and it's foolishness," Gaiman said. "There are no bad authors for children, that children like and want to read and seek out, because every child is different."

He warned that parents may cause their children to give up on reading entirely if they discourage kids from reading what they enjoy. There is a ladder of literacy that each person must climb. As for libraries, and books themselves, he said that these things should never be thought of as antiquated.

"I do not believe that all books will or should migrate onto screens: as Douglas Adams once pointed out to me," Gaiman said, "more than 20 years before the Kindle turned up, a physical book is like a shark. Sharks are old: there were sharks in the ocean before the dinosaurs. And the reason there are still sharks around is that sharks are better at being sharks than anything else is."

Before his speech, he said that closing libraries was akin to stopping vaccinations. He encouraged people in the U.K. to cling more dearly to their libraries.

"In Florida there were attempts to close several libraries, and people kicked up a fuss and embarrassed them into stopping," Gaiman told The Bookseller.


Original Post

Copyright 2013 Deseret Digital Media, Inc.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Camilla's brother dies in New York after head injury

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 11:04 PM EDT2014-04-24 03:04:50 GMT
    The brother-in-law of the Prince of Wales died Wednesday after falling outside a hotel bar and suffering a head injury, police said. Mark Shand, the brother of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.
    The brother-in-law of the Prince of Wales died Wednesday after falling outside a hotel bar and suffering a head injury, police said. Mark Shand, the brother of Prince Charles' wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, was in New York for a charity auction at Sotheby's.
  • Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Deep split in Port Authority over unfinished WTC tower

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-04-24 01:03:40 GMT
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
    Board members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey revealed a deep split Wednesday over the agency's role in effecting the completion of the long-delayed 3 World Trade Center project, with some commissioners lauding the effort and others expressing grave concerns. The discussion at the monthly board meeting offered a rare glimpse into the negotiations that have been going on behind the scenes in recent months.
  • God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    God's Love We Deliver virtual bake sale for birthday cakes

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 6:36 PM EDT2014-04-23 22:36:46 GMT
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
    God's Love We Deliver provides meals to people in the New York City area who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. Clients also receive birthday cards that are decorated by local school students. Sometimes a cake is the only birthday gift that God's Love's clients will receive.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices