Opinion and Editorial

Great deal: A good book is the best bargain you can get

Vicky Kapur (From the Executive Editor's desk)
Filed on November 14, 2019 | Last updated on November 14, 2019 at 06.31 am

(Photo by Juidin Bernarrd)

This year, the region was emboldened by the power of 675,000,000 books and billions of words read by 13.5 million students.

It had all the settings of a page-turner. A noble initiative launched by one of the world's most admired leaders to rekindle the love for the written word among the youth of a region that is caught between political turmoil and economic upheaval. The challenge? To read and summarise 50 books in one academic year. At stake were pride, honour - and Dh500,000. The winner? A teen from a war-torn nation that is trying to rebuild itself after years of conflict. In its fifth iteration, the Arab Reading Challenge, which was launched in 2015 by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, saw a record participation of Arab students from 49 countries.

The UAE has been a huge advocate of reading - from declaring 2016 as the year of reading to hosting several international book fairs (including the just concluded Sharjah International Book Fair) to offering a home to the world's largest book sale. "We are stronger with Arab youth who believe in the power of words," said Sheikh Mohammed. This year, the region was emboldened by the power of 675,000,000 books and billions of words read by 13.5 million students. "Today, we crowned Hadeel Anwar from Sudan as the Arab Reading Champion 2019, out of 13.5 million students. Congratulations to the people of Sudan. My message to them is their future looks bright and beautiful with their persistent and enlightened young generations," His Highness said.

Books offer a welcome relief in today's distracted world where we're hard-pressed to choose between spending our spare time on social media or online gaming or binge-watching Netflix. In fact, as the 'master of quick wit' Groucho Marx once quipped, "I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book." In Dubai, a shopping haven, you'll usually find residents and tourists looking for good deals. Pick a good book when you see one - after all, a good book is the best bargain you'll ever get.

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