Blog Archives



I apologize for the all caps. But this is important. The world, we can agree, is a mess. Hey, I live in a country where the Prime Minister is destroying all our science libraries because who needs information when you can have pure dogma.

My thinking behind my all cap exhortations is that the world requires and needs to breed empathy, imagination, innovation and empathy and more empathy and to want less and do more. Let’s unleash the potential to empathize the hell out of greed until greed disappears. I am prepared to make the bold statement that the world needs, indeed requires more imagination. We need more fiction readers, poets and poetry readers. We need people to feel the heartbeat of others through words, to see other worlds, to imagine to reach beyond ourselves and into ourselves.

Books saved my rocky turbulent childhood. They were my older sister’s saviour and through her I loved them too. As soon as I could I worked at a library for Hazel who was a little old lady who taught me how to put books in order according to the dewey decimal systems. I would go to work and breathe in the calm atmosphere and lose myself in the stacks looking at books just as I would much later working in bookstores and then in publishing companies. I lived in many worlds and wore the heart and soul of thousands of characters. My world got bigger.

I escaped. I wanted to write an ode to books, to writers, to readers, to empathetic souls but someone beat me to it. I read this piece in the Guardian the other day…ode to the library and I couldn’t have said it better if I tried. I am coincidentally reading a Neil Gaiman novel right now “American Gods”. I reached for something utterly different this time because I want my world to be unimaginably big and bold and heartbreaking in ways that only new things, new words and experiences can bring to you. So thank you Mr. Gaimon and thank you all you librarians and fiction writers and poets out there. This is a long piece but read it all. Read it all and pass it on.

Neil GaimanNeil Gaiman: Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming

A lecture explaining why using our imaginations, and providing for others to use theirs, is an obligation for all citizens

It’s important for people to tell you what side they are on and why, and whether they might be biased. A declaration of members’ interests, of a sort. So, I am going to be talking to you about reading. I’m going to tell you that libraries are important. I’m going to suggest that reading fiction, that reading for pleasure, is one of the most important things one can do. I’m going to make an impassioned plea for people to understand what libraries and librarians are, and to preserve both of these things.

And I am biased, obviously and enormously: I’m an author, often an author of fiction. I write for children and for adults. For about 30 years I have been earning my living though my words, mostly by making things up and writing them down. It is obviously in my interest for people to read, for them to read fiction, for libraries and librarians to exist and help foster a love of reading and places in which reading can occur.

So I’m biased as a writer. But I am much, much more biased as a reader. And I am even more biased as a British citizen.

And I’m here giving this talk tonight, under the auspices of the Reading Agency: a charity whose mission is to give everyone an equal chance in life by helping people become confident and enthusiastic readers. Which supports literacy programs, and libraries and individuals and nakedly and wantonly encourages the act of reading. Because, they tell us, everything changes when we read. Continue Reading

Leave a comment

January 24, 2014 · 4:45 am

Crazy Dancing Guy and the First Follower – We have one right here!

I actually created this post for another blog where I write or report on sustainability issues. This post came as a result of a bunch of folks at the office being shy, reticent, uncomfortable, un-eager to change one small behaviour in order to reduce waste. Until of course….our hero appeared! I’m so thrilled to see one small example of social change that I’m re-posting here! There’s HOPE FOR HUMANITY!

Perhaps some of you have seen this video – the first brave dancing guy who goes out and dances like a wild man who is then followed by the first lone follower and the two of them are  followed by a multitude of crazy dancers because the first two have paved the way for the others! Well at the BBOT we have our own First Crazy Dancer and are currently looking for the BBOT’s Lone Follower.

We decided we wanted to reduce styrofoam waste and to do this we would bring our own containers from home to take to Crystal Mall. But as it turned out most of us were a bit shy. Except for Eugene Chang who said “l’ll do it. I have no problem with this. I have a container with me today. Let’s go. ” So off we went to Crystal Mall and to document this historic moment I went along for the ride and took pictures of our intrepid Account Executive. Here for your viewing pleasure is the BBOT’s very own social change agent Eugene Chang:

Eugene – Ready to Make the Trek to Crystal Mall with his container.On his way Eugene

Awesome Malaysian RestaurantAwesome Malaysian  Restaurant

Nice container full of delicious Bami Goreng.

Full Container

Eugene on the way back to the office carrying his lunch in a recyclable bag!

Eugene Carrying his lunch back to the office

Eugene back at the office enjoying  his lunch! Happy Eugene, happy planet:) Now who is our next lone intrepid follower?

Happy Full Eugene

About styrofoam containers:

Where to recycle styrofoam containers

What is styrofoam?


June 19, 2013 · 5:11 pm

Riding Out at Evening – by Linda McCarriston – Poem of the Week via the lovely Alison McGhee


At dusk, everything blurs and softens.
From here out over the long valley,
the fields and hills pull up
the first slight sheets of evening,
as, over the next hour,
heavier, darker ones will follow.

Quieted roads predictable deer
browsing in a neighbor’s field, another’s
herd of heifers, the kitchen lights
starting in many windows. On horseback
I take it in, neither visitor
nor intruder, but kin passing, closer
and closer to night, its cold streams
rising in the sugarbush and hollow.

Half-aloud, I say to the horse,
or myself, or whoever: let fire not come
to this house, nor that barn,
nor lightning strike the cattle.
Let dogs not gain the gravid doe, let the lights
of the rooms convey what they seem to.

And who is to say it is useless
or foolish to ride out in the falling light
alone, wishing, or praying,
for particular good to particular beings,
on one small road in a huge world?
The horse bears along, like grace,

making me better than what I am,
and what I think or say or see
is whole in these moments, is neither
small nor broken. For up, out of
the inscrutable earth, have come my body
and the separate body of the mare:
flawed and aching and wronged. Who then
is better made to say be well, be glad,

or who to long that we, as one,
might course over the entire valley,
over all valleys, as a bird in a great embrace
of flight, who presses against her breast,
in grief and tenderness,
the whole weeping body of the world?

For more information on Linda McCarriston, please click here:


Leave a comment

October 23, 2012 · 12:53 am