Monday, 30 April 2018

The Power of Books

by Hazel Barker 

Books are a powerful weapon. There have been many instances of book-burnings throughout history. Some of the better-known conflagrations are the burning of Catholic theological works by Martin Luther in 1520, and the incinerating of English Monastic Libraries during the Dissolution of Monasteries from 1536-1541. Thousands of books were burned by the Communists in Russia. Books by Jewish authors and anti-Nazi books were burned by the Nazis in the 1930s and 1940s. The latest burnings to date have been those by ISIS in Iraq, Syria and Libya. Fear of their influence on people led to such destruction.

Books open our minds to knowledge, to understanding and to joy. There are millions to choose from, and were we to spend our whole lives consuming book after book, we could only read a fraction of them. For this reason, we need go to Book Fairs like the Omega Book Fair, which was recently held in March 2018. We need to visit good book stores like Koorong Book Stores. We need to be selective in what we read. We need to read edifying books. 

I enjoy reading memoirs and historical fiction. From memoirs I may learn how to avoid the mistakes others have made, or be encouraged to follow their examples. Reading historical fiction teaches me about the past, and I read them, bearing in mind the adage ‘History repeats itself.’ Books give me pleasure. Few joys give greater joy than relaxing with a good book. Ever since I learned to read from the age of four, I loved books. Later, even before I reached my teens, I longed to write – to be an author someday. 

Now that dream has been fulfilled. Book One of my memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind. Story of a War Child and its sequel The Sides of Heaven, is available in all good bookstores. I assure you that men and women of all ages will enjoy reading it and will look forward to the third book. 


Hazel Barker lives in Brisbane with her husband Colin. She taught in Perth, Canberra and Brisbane for over a quarter of a century and now devotes her time to reading, writing and bushwalking. From her early years, her passion for books drew her to authors like Walter Scott and Charles Dickens. Her love for historical novels sprang from Scott, and the love of literary novels, from Dickens. Many of her short stories and book reviews have been published in magazines and anthologies.

Hazel’s debut novel Chocolate Soldier, was released by Rhizza Press in 2016. Book One of her memoirs Heaven Tempers the Wind was released by Armour Books this year. Both books are set during World War Two – the former in England and the Far East; the latter in Burma. Book Two of her memoirs, The Sides of Heaven, was released by Armour Books in February this year.


  1. Lovely to see your books being released, Hazel--congratulations again! A good point too, I think, that we need to be wise about what books we choose to read--what enriches us in some way or feeds our spirit or perhaps even challenges us. The books we choose don't always have to be heavy reads--we all love to escape and relax with a book at times. But I still think we need to be selective, as you say.

  2. Love books too. And great to have your memoirs published Hazel. I enjoyed the first and look forward to reading the other two. Thanks for your post.

    1. Thank you, Jo-Anne and Jenny. You have both helped me in many ways. I can never forget the mentoring session I had with you at an Omega Conference held in Brisbane. That is when I first met you.
      Jenny you're wonderful for helping so many others too by holding interviews, inviting us to guest blog and holding book fairs.

  3. Thanks so much Hazel for your lovely blog. Books are friends aren't they? You are right that we need to be wise in what we choose to read because we can't read them all. I look forward to reading your books. The titles are intriguing. I love what you said that books open our minds to knowledge, understanding and joy. Congratulations on your books! Thanks for sharing Hazel and all the best to your future writing!

  4. Hi Hazel, that's so true, and people underestimate what a powerful tool they are. The Dymocks bookshop which has been in my parents' shopping centre for over 25 has recently closed down and disappeared without warning. Always a big disappointment when something like this happens. But glad you're keeping up your part in the crusade with your new titles.