It is a disappointment that people read books less often in these days of widespread technological reliance (Siam, Book Stats: Why We Should Care). Books were the primary source of intellectual entertainment just a hundred years ago, but with the invention of radio, television, cinematography, and most recently, the Internet and computer games, it seems that reading books is no longer a popular leisure activity. However, I believe that books are an irreplaceable part of our lives, and the role that masterfully-written books play on the personal growth and development of a particular person throughout one’s life is a remarkable one. Books directly expand our consciousness of how we live and where we live, enrich our power to express ourselves, supply us with inspiration in a way that other mediums cannot compete with.
Books expand our knowledge and conception of the world around us (Jiken, Solidarity for Books). One may argue that films and TV documentaries do that too, but I believe that books are a much better alternative, since they allow each reader to experience the same story using one’s own imagination. When a hundred people watch a film or a TV show, they see the same content – whatever the director and the producer wish to show. Books are different. The experience achieved through reading is richer and more personal, since the same description and the same word choice will result in as many different interpretations as there are readers. We are all unique, and books allow us to experience whatever is narrated in the light of our own personal values, through our ideas and our imagination.
In addition, books enrich our vocabulary, introduce us to new notions and offer a wider choice of words to us. With every book we read, we become more intelligent (Singh, The Braininess of Books). Even reading one seemingly more primitive pulp fiction book per month can enrich one’s personal vocabulary with dozens of new words, help us build more concise sentences on our own and express oneself better, make one’s speech more intelligent and sophisticated. Watching certain TV programs and documentary films can also widen one’s vocabulary, but hardly as effectively as books do, since reading operates with both more sophisticated visual and audio (if reading aloud) receptors. Moreover, our imagination reproduces mental pictures of what we are reading about, so a new word automatically links to a certain image and a particular feeling that it relates to. Therefore, reading books is a wonderful tool when it comes to learning and developing one’s vocabulary at any age.
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Books are a fantastic source of inspiration. Unlike fine art, architecture or travelling, books help us create our own mental illustration for what we read on paper. In a way, books make us all artists and creators of our own mental cartoons, movies or illustration collections (Curtis, Book Artists). Every image we create ourselves is automatically allotted a certain emotion, whether a simple or a more complicated one. Every mental image that a written word projects is vibrant with feelings and emotions. This is what makes books powerful and memorable. Books are an endless source of inspiration and motivation to become a better person.
I am certain that creating a system of symbols and eventually an alphabet, words, and books was the greatest series of inventions of humankind. The books I am talking about are classics, those that do not have an expiration date and will be priceless for any generation. They will continue sparking new ideas, inspiring new deeds and enriching the lives of every generation to come. I am positive that books will eventually regain their popularity with today’s youth, since unlike the popular kinds of entertainment in fashion today, books are those roots to which people will go back, in search of the motivation, inspiration and aspiration, to find the true meaning and value of life.
1. Siam, Nyugen. Book Stats: Why We Should Care (2006). Wisconsin Daily Press.
2. Jiken, Howard. Solidarity for Books (2010). Lazy Bird Publishing.
3. Singh, Jaghan. The Braininess of Books (2011). Sharala Publishing.
4. Curtis, Brain. Book Artists (2012). Ant Hill Press.
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