It’s always somewhat surprising when you read something and realize not only that you wish you’d said it but that, if you had, you probably wouldn’t have said it quite as well.
The latest case in point for me is a post at Tales from the Reading Room called “Reasons For Buying Books.” Now anyone who reads this blog should know I don’t need a reason to buy books… but if I ever did this post provides nine great reasons. My favorite deals with cultural reasons for buying a book.
Buying a book is like placing a vote for a certain way of life. Books ask us to think deeply about the reasons why we do things, they challenge us and they reflect back to us the kind of society we create for ourselves. A culture with a strong literary component is one that considers contemplation, critique and creativity essential factors in the life of its citizens. It’s a culture that is not afraid to question what it does, and that welcomes subversion as being essential to vitality and growth. It’s a culture that doesn’t want to encourage sheep-like compliance or self-centred, short-sighted demands. It’s the culture I’d like to live in.
Go check out the other reasons. There’s likely one speaks to you. Like I said, I’ve never really needed a reason to buy a book but it’s somehow gratifying when someone expresses something I’ve known but never articulated. Now I understand that, at least subconsciously, part of the reason I buy books is because it helps create the culture I’d like to live in. (H.T. Reading Matters.)
There is something in the American character that is even secretly hostile to the act of aimless reading, a certain hale and heartiness that is suspicious of reading as anything more than a tool for advancement.
Anna Quindlen, How Reading Changed My Life