Books About Town
As of the 2nd July, 50 new benches popped up on the streets of London. Far from simply providing the weary sight-seer somewhere to park their behind, these seats have been designed to look like open books.
A wide range of literary classics are represented, from Clarice Bean to 1984, with the stories being portrayed through colourful and detailed artwork on the open ‘pages’. In a campaign to promote the joys of reading, the Books about Town project was developed by the National Literary Trust.
As well as being stand-alone works of art, tourists and Londoners alike can follow literary trails around the city, which will take them on a tour of the ‘BookBenches’.
These can be enjoyed around the city until 7th October, when the benches are to be auctioned off at the Southbank Centre. The money raised for the charity will go towards tackling illiteracy in deprived areas of the UK.
Too late for the paperback?
In 2012, Amazon revealed that its e-book sales had overtaken those of the printed book. But while there continues to be so many of us who just can’t resist curling up with a good book (an actual book) and a cup of tea, is the printed story in any real danger?
According to the National Literary Trust’s Children’s and Young People’s Reading report, which was put together in 2013, 53.3% of the 30,000 8-16 year-olds surveyed said that they enjoyed reading “very much” or “quite a lot”. This percentage shows that enjoyment has increased, with the previous top figure being 51.4% in 2005. However, it is not clear whether a distinction was made between e-books and printed books.
Perhaps this distinction is irrelevant. If over half of today’s children and young people enjoy reading books in a world filled with technology and other distractions, this is surely nothing but a good thing.
The Books about Town project not only serves to celebrate the country’s literary and artistic talent, but it also promotes reading as a means of enjoyment and will eventually raise funds to help others learn the skills to do the same. Sounds pretty flawless to me!
If you’d like to browse through the various designs, visit the Books about Town website to see the location of each ‘BookBench’ on a map, or even to place an early bid!
What do you think? Will you be visiting the capital to follow a literary trail? Are you a fan of the e-book? Leave your comments below.