About Me

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London, United Kingdom
Holly Searle is a writer who was born in Westminster in the middle of London. She shares her birthday with Jarvis Cocker and David Seaman and like Jarvis Cocker she wears glasses but has nothing whatsoever in common with David Seaman. She is fascinated by words, people and their stories, and regularly spends hours fantasising about being offered a weekly column. She has a degree in Film and Television which she gained from Brunel University in 1997. She has been blessed with two quite remarkable children whom she adores. She enjoys the company of her friends and the circus that is life. Long Walk to Forever by Kurt Vonnegut is her favourite short story. She is the author of the published children's tale The Story of Balan Singh, and is currently working on her first book.

Monday, 9 November 2015

How and Why: Life Before The Interweb By Holly Searle


Prior to a life online, those of us of a certain generation sourced our information from a series of books that presented a world of illustrated gems, full of facts, that we knew existed beyond our front doors, but knew nothing of in the reality of our daily lives.

They were a collection of 74 unique titles of shiny A4 paperbacks produced during the 60's and 70's called The How and Why Wonder books.

The collection was established to introduce children to the world of science and history, and included a vast variety of topics.

Each book was produced in the same format presented with the words The How and Why Wonder Book of, followed by the individual topic of that edition.

On the back of each title, there was a pictorial listing of all of the other titles that were also available in the series.

They were marvellous magical things.

I can't recall how many of these delightful wondrous books we amassed between us, but I can remember how excited my brother and I were when we both received a new one.

The surprise was always in the not knowing which new title we would be presented with. And when we had received our individual new copies, we would spend many indulgent childhood hours, feasting on their contents and scrutinising all the facts and images that had now become part of our lives.

As there were two of us, the delight was doubled as we would share them between us.

And when we had read them from cover to cover, we would turn to the back page and endlessly discuss the ones we had, and lust over the ones we wanted next. Then the pain of waiting would become unbearable, until the new additions arrived.

In today's world, it's as easy as the press of a button to source any information that you are looking for. I can't decide if this is a good or bad modern attribute: and if those born within its existence, appreciate how incredibly educational Tim Berners-Lee's World Wide Web can be.

Personally, I like to imagine that he himself once pondered a How and Why Wonder Book here and there, which in turn influenced his mind-blowing, globally connective invention.

How great would that be?

Hand on heart, I can honestly say that I owe my own fascination with subjective detail to this series of books.

A few years ago when Child Two showed a keen interest in Dinosaurs, I came across a copy of the How and Why Wonder Book of Dinosaurs in a charity shop.

I was beyond excited engulfed with nostalgia.

I purchased it and returned home, where I sat down and flicked through its well worn pages. On doing so I was amazed by just how naive its contents were. So much so, that I correctly assumed that a child of the techno savvy 21 Century would not find this book of interest.

I was partially right.

To me however, it still held its value, which of course, still is, and always will be priceless.