• Twitter
  • Facebook
News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Book lovers

Tiffany Gee Lewis on why we need books now more than ever:

In today’s information-rich world, there are many ways for us to learn. Yet I would argue that the power of the printed word still makes the most indelible impression. There’s a reason we’re commanded to read our scriptures every day, and not just log onto lds.org and watch Mormon Messages.

[. . .]

. . . we’ve become masters of burning time. Our time is diluted with lots of busies: carpools, sports, decorating, music lessons, TV, video games and that vast chasm of information known as the Internet.

[. . .]

And as an aside, I am still a proponent of the good, old-fashioned book, the kind with real paper pages. For one, our children don’t need to see us with another electronic gadget. To them it is just one more device standing between them and us. For another, the battery on a book will never die. Its technology will never change. It doesn’t need flashing lights or color to still be relevant.

Plus, there is something empowering about standing in front of a bookshelf, not virtual but real, with a thousand titles at my fingertips. I like that power to choose. I know that whatever book I choose will take me to another place. It will transform me.

I agree with her on the greater need for books today. With so much information overload, much of what we learn being outdated before we commit it to memory, we need to cherish everything we can find that might be worthy of preserving as eternal truth. And what is more symbolic of imperviousness to change than the words that can never be altered between the covers of a book?

But that can be a limitation, too. I'm a member of a discussion group that meets to talk about a different book each month. For the last several books, I was able to buy a Kindle version, but for the most recent one I had to get the old-fashioned paper version. And it was . . . annoying. Reading the Kindle books, I had been able to underline passages and make notes with the electronic interface. That made it a snap to refer to the right parts of the book during group discussion. I still can't quite make myself underline or make notes in a real book, so unless I keep a notepad or a bunch of Post-It notes handy, I have to rely on my memory, which wasn't that great even in my younger days.

Revere books, yes, but let's not get hung up one how we access them. New technologies are more likely to save the book than destroy it.