I am not a book lover

October 11th, 2015, 6pm

Am I a book lover? I want to say that I am but I have come to believe that that is missing the point. Books are funny things. The term book traditionally refers to a physical thing that contains the things we are after and yet the term “book” has often been used as short form to refer to its contents, as though a book in and of itself had a value that could be separated from the words within it. In the world of ebooks things become more complicated. It’s not the book we are after, not really, and yet we so often think we are. We’re after ideas, knowledge, information and stories conveyed via a medium that allows us to ingest them at our own pace in a uniquely personal way. Most literate people tend to think in words and so reading is the closest you might get to reading another person’s mind – or letting someone else get into yours. Though the short hand of “books” for ideas, stories and information is handy, it can also lead to intellectual laziness. It can lead to people to create a false equivalency between all books and a tendency to disseminate them or champion them like vitamins while never discussing what lies within them. Which brings me to another point: neglect that books are containers and you’ll not pay enough attention to the fact that they can be dangerous. Externally, with some mild differences they all kind of look the same, even in an electronic format. They all have a cover, an author and words. But the words might be arranged in such a way to convey a point or an idea that is uplifting or potentially dangerous. Give people (students, readers, children, adults) the tools to interact with ideas, to tear them apart and put them back together again for themselves and then a book is never dangerous; but forget that it has that potential and you’ll forget that teaching someone to read opens all doors, not just to more generically good books but to a world of ideas, not all of which are kind.

David Wade, Samuel, Eilert, Hedaya and 4 others said thanks.

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Dani Z

The hardest thing about getting older is realizing that I might, in fact, be a minor character in someone else's story. (I keep changing this bio. I'm not sure I'll ever nail it)

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