In the digital world we live in, the power of a good book has been overlooked. To read a book is to learn something new, to be transported to a whole different time and place, or to engage with the outside world. Although American society has certainly shifted away from traditional print books in favor of ebooks, quick push-button news, and Netflix, there is truly nothing like the feeling of being totally immersed in a worn paperback or brand new shiny hardcover book. In places like Afghanistan, this feeling is not lost. This article from the New York Times speaks about how in an area transformed by war and weakened by foreign interference, the book trade is a homegrown industry that has flourished all by itself.
What is happening in Afghanistan is a positive model for how the recovery of a war-torn country should work. As opposed to pumping foreign dollars into the economy, which results in a loss of self-sufficiency and cultural identity, regrowth can happen from the people. Of course, the book trade cannot solve all of the deep-seated issues plaguing the nation. But it is a step in the right direction, for publishers and readers alike.