Why I Think Books Are Cool?

Reading is something that I’ve always done and never considered why. I do feel like it enriches my life, but I have found a love for books to be a bit of a rarity when meeting with others around my age. It’s not just a case of them having different preferences for how they’d like to invest their time, but they talk about books as if the idea of sitting to read them in an absurd notion. I’ve heard the activity described using words such as weird or uncool. I remember a few years back there were growing concerns over an issue where children had admitted to feeling embarrassed about being caught with a book. I think it’s a shame if these are the reasons for why a person doesn’t read as I don’t know if they even understand what they’re missing out on.

A while back Planet Pasduil linked to a video called ‘The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction‘ that explores why some of us are no longer finding the time to read. At one point in the video it suggests that how we approach books from a young age could have an impact on how we feel about them for the rest of our lives. At school we were rarely given the choice on what to read – or even what to write about – and we had to analyse everything. I disliked a lot of the material that we covered for a long time afterwards. When reading for pleasure – doing anything for pleasure – having to stop and analyse it can remove you from how the experience is meant to make you feel (see my other post ‘Over Analysing Can Remove You From An Experience‘.) A lot of what we enjoy is because we don’t have to do it. Fortunately, I also read a lot outside of school; My mum use to take me to the library every week and it allowed me to discover the pleasures of reading for myself. While reading is good for our writing, vocabulary and knowledge, they are not the sole reasons for why many of us continue to read as we get older.

I’ve always been a fan of storytelling and I’m drawn to it in all formats. I see arguments for why one format is better than another – I obviously have a preference for video games -, but I think they all have different strengths and weaknesses. There are certain ways in which a book can deliver a story that I rarely find the others can match. Books tend to contain more detail and character insight. We get to read about the character’s thoughts and background as events unfold, which would potentially be overbearing or unrealistic in other formats. For example, I recently made the decision to start reading through A Song Of Ice And Fire by George R. R. Martin instead of jumping straight into the show. So far I’ve found that the selection of characters is what make it an interesting read and I love how each chapter is offered from a different perspective. There are certain scenes that are incredibly dramatic because of the choice of character that we experience it through. We are also limited by that chosen character’s understanding of the world around them rather than being a passive observer. Admittedly, the additional depth can make some books a little heavy going and so the adaptations are still a great way to allow others to enjoy the same story.

Books can remain our companions for longer than a film or a show can, and this gives us more time to acquaint with them and develop attachments. We are also adding a part of ourselves to the story as they require us to use our imagination. I get a weird magical feeling when I read that I cannot describe easily with words; It’s like I’m leaving myself behind to step into the shoes of another. Many of the stories are wonderful and very original, but not all of them will be adapted to other formats; Reading may be the only way to enjoy them. As an activity it is also very relaxing and much needed in a time when we seem to be constantly bombarded with noise and information.

It has never mattered to me if reading is considered cool or not, because it is something that comes to me naturally without a second thought. We all enjoy different things and books aren’t for everyone, but I don’t think embarrassment should be a factor in that choice (see my other post ‘Too Embarrassed To Like Something‘); Otherwise we could end up missing out on many things that could potentially enrich our lives.

If you feel that books have added to your life in some way I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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About wallcat

I have a strong passion for computing. In particular programming for which I am able to use a variety of languages including C++, Visual C#, Blitz Basic, Actionscript 2.0, Python and Lua. I also enjoy web-design and have some knowledge of HTML/CSS, PHP/SQL and Javascript. As well as programming I have a strong background in art and enjoy drawing in my spare time. When I’m not sat at my computer I like to keep fit by going to the gym or using my exercise ball.

6 responses to “Why I Think Books Are Cool?”

  1. Pasduil says :

    Is reading uncool with kids now? That is worrying!

    Although I guess when I was young I didn’t have too much of a clue as to what was or wasn’t cool anyway, which was probably just as well.

    • wallcat says :

      Probably far better to be that way. For the most part I’m not fussed about what’s cool or not because we’re free to enjoy what we like – I read in the privacy of my home anyway. I just think it’s a bit of a shame for books to have this image that puts some people off, when I’ve had some great experiences through them. It has been in the news a few times and I also notice it in the way some people react when the topic of books comes up. It’s more popular for people to read online now instead.

  2. drakeca89 says :

    WITHOUT BOOKS THERE WOULD BE NO HARRY POTTER!!!!!!!! Now that is a world I just couldnt live in!

  3. Lori L MacLaughlin says :

    I definitely feel that books have added to my life. They have broadened my horizons, increased my vocabulary, and taken me to places I’ll never visit in my lifetime. They’ve also sparked my imagination in incredible ways so that I can create my own stories. That’s really sad that people don’t read because they think it’s uncool. What a terrible loss for them. I can’t imagine a world without books.

    • wallcat says :

      I feel the same way. Out of everything, books have probably sparked my imagination more than anything else. I enjoy what I can learn from reading too. If I ever have kids of my own I hope to encourage them to enjoy books as much as my partner and I do. I don’t think books will ever go anywhere, but I have to admit that when I’m around people that don’t read I can’t help thinking about how much they’re missing out on and maybe not even realizing it.

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