If Books Could Speak


If the items could speak (some can) at once the result would be a cacophony of conflicting, diverging, strange and wonderful ideas. Many books would disagree with one another. If the books could move around, there would certainly be fights. Some ideas (such as the idea of supernatural gods, for example) appear many millions of times through pages, whether they come from ancient Egypt , from medieval English tracts or from 20th century science fiction novels.


Nearly half a million people visit the British Library reading rooms each year: novel writers, chefs, politicians, poets, film makers, wizards, surgeons and many, many others. The books become like ingredients for recipes - readers take a bit of this, a pinch of that, and then stir the ideas they have collected into their own mixture, coming out with a feast of new thoughts. Allowing people to do this is the whole point of the British Library.


Now try the exercise on the next page .