Why I Read [actual] Books

I didn’t grow up a reader. Surfer magazine was the only written word worth while (I promise, it wasn’t just the pictures…). I didn’t pick up a book for fun until I was nineteen. You’d think I’d be thrilled to be alive in a time where most people communicate with encrypted text messages, emoticons, 140 character tweets and youtube clips.

In many ways I love the tools at our finger tips. Other times I find myself wishing I lived during grandma and grandpa’s day when you needed pen and paper to record your thoughts and a bookstore to get a book.

No one ever walks into an Apple Store, picks up an iPad and says, “I love the way this thing smells.” And you don’t sit in front of your computer screen thinking, “It just feels so great in my hands.” I don’t have the best sense of smell, but I love the smell of old books. And my posture would be much better if I didn’t sit in front of a computer most of the day.

Contrary to what many in my parent’s generation think, the developed world isn’t digressing into an illiterate age. Instead, the definition of literate has changed. My good friend Jondou suggests that proper English has changed as well…Language evolves, but that’s a post for another day, possibly a discussion for our new blog). To quote Marshall McLuhan, the medium is the message. We can’t ignore today’s media or the way in which it has changed our language.

But books, those things made out of paper and comprised of complete sentences, bring us back to the basics of language. If we never learn the basics, today’s valuable tools will lead us down a path of frustration into a world of dull dreams and incomplete thought.

The last year I’ve read a lot of what Michael Hyatt has been writing. I’d recommend his stuff to anyone. As a the former CEO of Thomas Nelson, he get’s the whole book thing. He writes,

Contrary to what is often reported in the mainstream media, books are not dead. They are still valuable today. But we must contend for their existence against all other forms of media. Books do for people what movies, television, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and social media will never do—fundamentally alter their worldview and inspire them to greatness.

We need to allow books to inspire us and alter our worldview. Sometimes I read for an escape. Others,  I read to be challenged. Simply put, I can’t afford to stop. None of us can. But too many of us have. This year I’ve been doing something I haven’t done since high school; I’m keeping a reading log/journal.

Why do you read? And what are you reading?

  • http://myeyesonchrist.blogspot.com/ Anita Coleman

    Nice post, David! books are not dead and will never be. I live to read :). I can’t ever imagine not reading as it never fails to give me pleasure. I read to be enlightened, enriched, inspired, informed, comforted, distracted, stimulated, and more. Some of books are like good friends; I love to hang out with them over and over again. Today, I will start on Helen Simonsen’s Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand (fiction). I am also reading Toxic Charity: When Churches And Charities Hurt Whom They Help by Bob Lupton. I was greatly inspired to read it having been at Bob’s session at Big Tent last month. I read several books at a time and another one I’m reading is Tracy Kidder’s Mountains Beyond Mountains about Dr. Paul Farmer’s work in Haiti. I just posted an author interview with Larry Forcey, author of The Crèche on my blog, you might want to check out! http://myeyesonchrist.blogspot.com/

  • http://myeyesonchrist.blogspot.com/ Anita Coleman

    Oops, I gave the wrong sub-title for Toxic Charity. The correct one is: How Churches and Charities Hurt Those They Help.