What’s the importance of books to you? To others? Read on.
“From every book, invisible threads reach out to other books; and as the mind comes to use and control those threads, the whole panorama of the world’s life, past and present, becomes constantly more varied and interesting, while at the same time the mind’s own powers of reflection and judgment are exercised and strengthened.” ~Helen E. Haines
In American culture, we are constantly told the importance of books and how they are good and beneficial both to ourselves as individuals and to our society as a whole. This perception of reading has persisted for thousands of years, even in the midst of the many cultural changes and transitions that have taken place. Since its creation, the written word has always seemed to carry a special weight and significance that other forms of education have not been able to compete with. Why is it that despite so many changes, books still remain vital and beloved to us as people?
The importance of books to readers
First of all, the importance of books cannot be measured. A book has much significance that only the reader can fathom – and sometimes, that’s not even so. Normally, the importance of books is shown through its uses. Books are the vessels by which all other forms of education are carried. Whether you plan on studying mathematics or philosophy, you will probably obtain a great deal of information from a textbook. This makes them a valuable resource for both formal and informal learning, which allows the appeal to transcend generations of learners wishing to gain insight and knowledge about the world around them. As vessels of education, books also help to keep a person’s intelligence sharp and keen, help to improve vocabulary, and promote a critical eye when viewing the world.
Another thing that highlights the importance of books is the information it can carry. Books provide a form of time capsule in which new information can be stored and preserved. As we learn more about our history and our environment, we feel a natural compulsion to pass our information along to younger generations. Books provide the means to document our current findings and keep humanity moving in a forward and intellectual direction. If we were to lose books, we would lose literal tomes of human knowledge collected over thousands of years. Once again, this knowledge spans to cover a multitude of subjects, some of which the average mind will never give a thought to.
Not only would we lose knowledge, we would also lose valuable insight into our own human experience. Both fiction and nonfiction alike give us glimpses into times that have passed and allow us to imagine a very different humanity and a very different world. These stories allow us to find commonality despite our endless cultural differences and think critically about the world around us. Much like talking to an old relative or family friend, new perspectives only expose us to new modes of thinking which allow us to grow. Many modern books seem like they are trivial right now, but in fifty years, some of the best written works will be seen as glimpses into the mind of our whole society. Our modern writers are the ambassadors that will carry our legacy to our children. Even books like Harry Potter will take their place next to great fantasy works like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. In the meantime, these books serve another valuable purpose: entertainment.
Importance of books: Source of entertainment and relaxation
It’s not even a question that we live in a society with a heavy focus on pleasure and entertainment. People have always sought out ways to relax and take their mind off of their burdens. Sure, forms of entertainment like television, video games and movies are fun and popular ways to get this fix, but books offer a more unhurried and gratifying form of pleasure. As you read, you are getting the same story you might in a movie, but getting it with a slow depth of description which descends upon all of your senses and engrosses you. Books are captivating, but also rewarding, because you must put effort into the book in order to be entertained. Once you have put forth that effort though, the experience is like fireworks. Then, when the end comes and you close the cover, you feel a sense of accomplishment and completion which can sometimes (although not always) be lacking in more modern forms of media.
Books are also an incredibly tranquil form of entertainment. Since words are silent until they are spoken, the stillness of the readers environment lets them unwind even as they are absorbing new information. In America, we live in a culture of noise, so moments of quiet are rare and should be treasured as ways for our minds to clear out and our thoughts to sort themselves out. Yet, despite being such a quiet and solitary task, in a sense, reading is also almost like a form of socialization. We can picture ourselves getting to know the characters and begin to empathize and share emotions with them. This is why readers can be driven to such agony when a character dies or experience such elation when they are elated.
Lastly, one main thing that emphasizes the importance of books to us is its capability to spark both our imagination and our creativity. When we read something excellent and emotionally satisfying, it sparks a passion in ourselves to look at the world differently and try on new ideas. It’s strange how somebody else’s words can become the basis for self-reflection, but it is quite common. Reading a book about social injustices, for example, might ignite in somebody the desire to vote for legislation improving social programs in their country. Reading keeps people active and productive, because books whisper ideas to the reader instead of pacifying and stifling the mind. Indeed, the more you read, the more you want to know.
Books have been a fundamental cornerstone for the acquisition of knowledge for thousands of years. They can be deeply fulfilling on numerous levels of the human psyche, and are a valuable part of both our work and our leisure. Reading is an art that must be mastered with time and patience, especially if it’s not something you’ve done a lot before, but the gratification you receive far outweighs the burden of self-discipline. In the end, books will most likely outlive our technological age and continue to be a pertinent and beautiful part of humanity for the rest of its existence. Books are more human, more tangible than the most advanced machine can ever be. In the words of Ray Bradbury, ‘books are a loaded gun’. They are full of controversy, emotion, education, challenges, and the entire human experience just waiting to be fired into our minds so they can explode and grow.
Books are just there … waiting to be read. The importance of books and the value of actually reading books is clear. Go and read – find out the importance of books to you.