The importance of books – more comments

A few months ago I wrote an article called The Importance of Books. This article has had several people commenting on what I was saying. One comment that was posted today really caught my attention and I’d like to quote from it here:

Nick said, “Well, I read very few [books] unfortunately. Many books bore me to death, especially fantasy and science-fiction (not all). I eventually found that they were excellent soporifics, so my money wasn’t wasted after all.
But, the thing is, when I read I want to be absorbed by the knowledge, I want to learn and think immediately. This is the reason why I tend to read essays, philosophical ones most of the time. I want to see the world with a different perspective. Ideas must pour out of the words, and amaze me. I enjoy very precise and intelligent expression, metaphors. The whole must enlighen me, and push me to learn more. Only a few books manage to keep my attention in such ways, nowadays.

I think that Nick has tapped into the real value of reading books.

For the vast majority of people, books in the genres of crime, fantasy and romance (just to pick three that immediately come to mind) are read purely for their entertainment value. These books also provide escapism from the real world. Using books (and movies) in this way is quite valid and can give your life a much needed balance. It is refreshing to the mind and body to “lose” oneself in a story.

The real life-changing value comes from books that challenge our thinking, books that help us to develop a better world view, books that “rattle our cages” and help us to see old familiar things in new ways.

My thanks to Nick for his thoughtful comments. They made me think.


2 Responses to “The importance of books – more comments”

  1. […] comments and insights below. UPDATE: For a follow up article on this topic go to this new article: The importance of books – more comments. Wednesday January 17th, 2007 | Categories: The Writer’s Life; Books; Reading » 7 Comments […]

  2. Dung says:

    Books give me knowledge.books also give us pleasure.