Prisoners of War News, December 1943

PRISONERS OF WAR NEWS they have been to newspapers and periodicals. As a result of considerable economies in methods of book production which you will no doubt have noticed the number of books produced for sale is actually greater than before the war. Even so such has been the demand that to-day you cannot buy a copy o f any of the more popular classics nor for that matter a Dickens or a Scott novel. All classes of literature are in demand from the thriller to the most obtuse technical books and in order to give a fair chance to the works of authors worthy of publication, editions of new books have had to be restricted whatever the demand for them. No doubt war conditions are largely re­sponsible for this extraordinary state o f affairs and when more normal times return and the anticipated boom in private motor­ing becomes a reality the book trade will suffer a decline. Perhaps however the taste for good reading which has been acquired in war-time will to some extent become a permanent feature of our post-war life. Your correspondent has his doubts about this and believes that the present position is merely the making of a virtue out of a necessity. The other aspect of war-time leisure which has seen a tre­mendous increase in popularity is the cinema. Allover the country cinemas are packed everyday six days a week. Obvi­ously this has brought prosperity to the industry and rightly, these war-time profits are paid into the National Exchequer. There have been no striking developments in the art of the cinema— in fact technically the film producers seem to a mere layman to have lost ground. There has been a dearth o f new films and consequently a revival of the good old ones and sometimes one would almost think the public prefer the films which they know have been made before the war. The great increase in the popularity of the cinema is not difficult to under­stand. Under existing circumstances it is the most readily available and convenient of the few forms o f pleasure which remain to us. Now I want to touch briefly on a subject which has been much in the news lately. It has in fact already become the object o f music hall derision. I refer to Basic English. U n ­fortunately the true uses of Basic English have not been clearly put before the public with the result that many people are allowing themselves to be prejudiced against it. The idea behind Basic English is to have a universal language not as a substitute in anyway for our own or any other language but as a language easy to learn write and spell and which could 188
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