I have had the pleasure of meeting one of the most passionate book lovers in the world. He is a true romantic, a writer, a dreamer, and a knowledge hunter. And I know there are many more of us out there, all around the globe. That’s why this community of book lovers at Koob means so much to me. If you can relate to the idea that true wealth means unlimited access to the books you love, feel the pain of someone desperate for books but unable to get them, or feel the passion of someone who wants to teach orphaned children to read English using some of your favourite books that you grew up with, Koob might be just the place for you to meet your next best friend.
I have stolen the title of this blog from a good friend of mine who lives in a place without books. I met Khaled Ostath in Gaza, and we realised that we share a true love for reading and writing. But for Khaled, getting ahold of books can be impossible. Add infrequent, intermittent electricity and you will see that for an avid reader even e-books are not always a ready alternative. He read 100 novels on pdf last year alone! But as you may be able to relate, sometimes there is nothing like having the feel of a beloved book in its entirety in your hands. I urge you to read his brilliantly written and powerful short story that he wrote about what it is like for him and the other book lovers in Gaza:
“So sometimes I print out a PDF and go to the shop to drink coffee and read off paper, like a normal person anywhere else in the world”.
– Khaled Ostath, A book lover’s simple dream
He is so passionate about reading and books, he has started a programme called Reading Stars of Gaza. This is a charity to bring in books in English for young children who have been orphaned by conflict to help them learn English and introduces them to the joy of reading physical books.
When you meet a kindred spirit in a book lover, it has the added bonus of being able to tell you more about that person’s spirit than almost any other shared interest. What people like to read says a great deal about them of course. But I would also argue that their mere appreciation of books and the reverence of places that house them can say at least as much.
“Being rich is not about how many homes you own. It’s the freedom to pick up any book you want without looking at the price and wondering whether you can afford it.” ― John Waters
So join me at Koob- I look forward to meeting you to talk about your passion for books, and to share with you mine. Because we must not take our literary wealth for granted!