Why read books?

How many of you have heard that reading among the population of the United States is declining…that fewer and fewer people, especially young people, read books today?  Well, after all (they say) we have television and the Internet, iPods, Blackberries, cell phones, ( and on and on) to communicate with, learn from, and be entertained by………don’t we?   Why waste time with a book?

I imagine most of you are familiar with at least some of the ‘modern inventions’ above.  You know what e-mail and text messaging is like.  Think about that for a moment.

Now, imagine what holding a baby is like.  Picture the baby.  Feel it.  Soft.  Warm.  A bit heavy, maybe like a ten-pound bag of sugar.  Interesting noises and smells.  Love.  Got that image?

Okay.  Think about being in a tornado.  These days, most of us can at least imagine that.  Furious wind.  That famous freight-train sound.  The crack of splintering wood.  Air sucked out of us.  Fear.

Next, think about watching a Fourth of July parade.  The high school band is marching by, playing “Stars and Stripes Forever,” perhaps with more enthusiasm than talent.  But still…..    Heart beating faster.  Tears?

What have you been feeling?   Emotions!

Humans are hard-wired to express and feel emotions.  Sadness, joy, fear, horror, outrage, pride, compassion, joy.  Empathy.   As humans we feel, we respond, we even make decisions based on emotions.  We may decide what is good and true and what is not based on a “gut feeling” which, frankly, is just another way to use and express emotion.  What would human life be like without emotions?   But to get there, something must have the time to touch us, and the time to get inside us far enough to stir responding feelings.   Humans find satisfaction and fulfillment in that.

Personal relationships, experiencing or viewing disaster or triumph–and much more–can awaken varying emotions.  Reading a book can also give us that.  It offers enough time to create and experience emotions.   I think, because of that if nothing else,  books in some form will endure.

What do you think?      Radine

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2 Responses to “Why read books?”

  1. David A. Todd Says:

    Yes, books will endure. Unfortunately, some of them will be electronic, i.e. the Kindle of the Sony reader.

    The problem is movies are books with video added; television is free movies. So many people are becoming conditioned to the combo of words and video that the book reading public has shrunk, as you say in your opening, perhaps significantly and permanently.

    DAT

  2. gwen foster Says:

    I think it really depends on the person. Since most of the time, people often related to interactive media, they forget how to imagine and read between the lines. Since books are constantly translated to movies, people would prefer to sit in front of a big screen for one or two hours than spend two to three days confined in books.

    And since this pluralist world demands so much from us, time is not something we really truly have. And in order to read and fully enjoy a book, you must make time.

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