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For The Love Of Books…

Choose friends and books carefully as friends influence the character and books influence the thought process!!!

Well, the distance one would travel by train might not matter much when that person travels for free… The Truth, here, remains stranger than fiction! This has happened in the Netherlands, recently! The people there, went on to enjoy this treat for a week from March 28, as the Dutch Government planned to encourage people to read books.
Since 1932, the Netherlands has been organising ‘Boekenweek’ – a week-long celebration of literature, marked with literary festivals and book signings across the country – every year mainly to promote the habit of reading. People also enjoy other facilities that have been extended to them during this event, where a person gets a book free of cost after taking the membership of a library during the Boekenweek!

In the Netherlands, many authors pen novels, keeping in mind the Boekenweek Festival. Sometimes, publishers distribute some of those novels among book lovers for free. This year, the Dutch Railway Authorities distributed noted author Jan Siebelink’s ‘Jas van Belofte’, among passengers… Even Siebelink boarded a train to meet the commuters at Utrecht. He also read aloud excerpts from his book at the station… And later, the novelist told the press: “It is good to see all those happily surprised faces of travellers. We are talking about everything, including their journey. A traveller just said that he was on his way to Velp, my birthplace. Often, there are also children and I naturally hope that they start reading. That’s what we do it for.

Jan Siebelink

Those, who had a copy of Siebelink’s novel with them during the ride, were allowed to enjoy the journey without paying for a valid ticket. Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS) – the Dutch State Railway company and the main sponsor of the Annual Festivities – had informed passengers in advance that they would be enjoying a free ride, if they had a copy of the novel. Even, people who purchased books printed in Flemish language worth more than EUR 12.5 from any shop during the week, received a copy of ‘Jas van Belofte’ as gift!
In a statement, the National Railway company stated: “NS has a warm heart for reading, because reading is one of the favourite ways to spend time on the train. That is why we have been the main sponsor of a number of reading campaigns for 17 years, including Book Week.” It added: “On Sunday (March 31), the Netherlands travelled en masse for free by train on presentation of the Book Week Gift written by Jan Siebelink.

The Netherlands has set a fine example of promoting a healthy culture. Now, other countries should follow this path in an attempt to encourage the Youth to read books (especially in the era of World Wide Web)…

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