By Naeema Faroogi
That is the question, from the perspective of Jeddah’s population it is certainly not the case. Although the first words, which came to us through Quran were “Iqraa”, read, we are far from following the golden words.
We would do anything else but read. For instance, shopping is a passion that is fervently undertaken for instance. This is followed closely by constant messaging on WhatsApp. Networking, talking or just engaging in useless gossip about who is doing what, where and when come in next. Who has the time to open a book, sit and read when there is so many more exciting things going on?
Yes, books and reading are not valued enough and under marketed and unfortunately, reading seems to be a dying trend. Come on, let’s be honest, how many people in our daily lives in Jeddah do we see reading? (We are not counting people pretending to read in coffee shops here).
Here’s a recurrent dream of mine, in it I see a bookstore in every mall we have in Jeddah or better still even a small library in every mall.
Imagine how many bookstores I have just established in my dream already. We could have these bookstores brimming with Arabic and English books. This place would be a haven of knowledge, conjuring up images and stories in our minds to go with words transporting us to different parts of the world in a variety of time zones. Building a rich base of information on which we can experience new things and have in depth conversations. This would be strictly a place for book lovers and those who have potential for exploiting it, but without the expensive coffee.
Better yet, if you are a student, then maybe a 25% discount will be given to encourage you to visit often. As I drift off into this dreamland I also see some old bookshops too, buying used books should not looked down upon. In these bookshops we would find books on design, textbooks, recipe books, novels, magazines and so much more. Knowledge is to be kept in circulation so that we can go back and resell them again and someone else could benefit from them too.
A Final Note
Books and reading here may need better positioning; we need to encourage more reading too. Supply and demand has to be created because to lead, we must read. We need to turn the page over from being a goods-driven economy to a knowledge-driven economy and realize that books will help us get there. Not all answers can be found on Google and Wikipedia, some thoughts have to be dug deep by discovering the wonders of the written word whether it is on paper or on Kindle.
Cover Photo Credit: harrietclifford.blogspot.com