A Wave of Imagination

By: Richard Harris, English Content Editor
wave of imagination


There are times when you are reading that the story and place take you away. When you are suddenly there, standing with the character on the pavement of a distant city, your ears filled with the growl of traffic, the buzz of foreign voices and the hammer of construction work; the smell of the street invading your nostrils and the taste of the air on your tongue.

Other times there is the prickle on your neck, hairs rising as the unknown darkness overwhelms, filling your unconscious with the unseen, only for something as simple and natural as the description of the hiss of breathing in a seemingly empty house, to send your adrenalin rising as your imagination creates an unknown but evil foe, certainly on the pages of the novel… but possibly hiding in your own home.

Books have the power to transport us to any place in the universe, to any point in history, and as any character. Within their pages we can empathize with the young and the old, with men, women and children, with any creature even – real or fictional – in a way far more visceral than any film or play can evoke. Hollywood may be able to have actors portray Heathcliff and Cathy, the doomed protagonists of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, but the images on the screen can never do justice to the love, passion and vengeance found within its pages, nor the bleak, windswept moorland of northern England on which the story unfolds.

For children, the imagination is perhaps even more important. Favorite books stay with them for life, making a much greater impression on them than the latest best-seller or prize-winner does on ours. Think of the adventure of Treasure Island, the injustice of To Kill a Mockingbird, the heroism and loyalty of The Jungle Book’s Rikki Tikki Tavi, the joyous malevolence and vulgarity of The Twits or the friendship, grief and hope found in Charlotte’s Web. These books are more than stories, they help children rationalize the world around them, introducing them to notions of fear, revenge and mortality but providing resolutions and a path through the trials of life. More than that, they develop a child’s own imagination, opening their eyes to the world reflected in the books they read and providing lessons on life, along with the more prosaic improvements in reading, writing and spelling.

A love of reading is often called a gift, and it is one that should be given to children at a young age, so they can appreciate it for as long as possible and have it develop and mature as they do themselves.

So, log on to your computer, or visit us in person, and join Qatar National Library for free today. We have a recording studio, photographic equipment, newspapers, musical instruments, archival materials, historical exhibits and more. Most importantly, we have a million books just waiting to cast you away on a tidal wave of imagination. Here are some novels you can start with: 

Wuthering Heights/Emily Brontë

Treasure Island/Robert Louis Stevenson

To Kill a Mocking Bird/Harper Lee

The Jungle Book/Rudyard Kipling

The Twits/Roald Dahl

Charlotte's Web/EB White


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