Books are Overrated

 

a collection of picture books on a table

Librarians, bibliophiles, and book nerds: consider yourselves warned. The following message may cause feelings of indignation or outrage.

You'd definitely be much happier if you light a Frostbeard candle, wear your Out of Print t-shirt, and start your summer reading list than read what follows.

Everyone else: we need to have an honest conversation.

It's time to call out a seemingly innocent error, a well-meaning mixup. No one set out to create it — there's no evil conspiracy at play here. But with all the money, t-shirts, and Instagram accounts devoted to spreading this good-hearted confusion, the time has come to speak truth.

Books are overrated.

Now before anyone sets the interweb attack dogs on me, please notice I didn't say books are bad. I'm not advocating any sort of censoring, book burning, or library shutdowns. (Heaven forbid!)

I am saying books shouldn't be the focus of our adoration. It's reading and enjoying the stories within them — and the connection that comes with sharing and discussing them — that is the real cause for celebration.

It's a subtle but important difference.

How we got here is completely understandable. Over time, books became the easy, shorthand reference for the good stuff: slowing down, pressing pause on the demands of life, and savoring a well-crafted story.

But not every book is good. Some, quite frankly, are a waste of ink and paper. And bestowing praise upon any and all printed pages bound between a cover is an injustice to the truly great ones that engage our minds, spark our imaginations, and enrich our lives.

Those stories are the ones that make it a little easier to disconnect from the endless digital onslaught and take time for reading — a choice I'm very conscious of doing with and modeling for the little humans in my home.

Yes, it's tempting to start singing the praises of that select group of books, but they really are just conduits for what we truly need to celebrate: the power of stories to connect us with each other.



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