Sunday, April 28, 2013

Why Books are and are not Important

"...Why do they waste their time with futile plans?"
Psalm 2:1
 "A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry."
Proverbs 27:6-8

This blog post is a reply to a comment from Abbey on my previous post.  I haven't read Do Hard Things but I've heard a lot of good stuff about it.  My sister has read it and really enjoyed it.  I'll put it on my to-read list.

I was pretty close (and still am) to being a fan-girl of Doctor Who and have been theorizing even though it doesn't help, and I've been realizing that.  The Doctor's life isn't my life, I realized.  That made me happier because watching Doctor Who can be very depressing, and more so if you're watching it all the time.  I put on some music on my ipod (it was all soundtracks to movies) and I didn't feel fulfilled.  Those lives, in those fictional stories, aren't my life.  I was made to be different.  If we keep on filling our lives with too many stories of other people, we begin to forget that we even have a life outside those stories.  I've had to keep on learning this and it's sort of a theme in one of my books.

However, because classics are harder to read than modern day books, they are really good for our brains, to get us to think harder and know what we're reading.  That's one thing that separates them from easier-to-read books being written today.
Also, a lot of classics have only survived because they were memorable, because (most of the time) they had a good message.  I think it's good for both nonwriters and writers to read classics so that we can find out how books were written back then, and I think it's good for developing our own voice in writing.

So for school this year, my homeschool Christian co-op and I read To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies (because it was similar to the Hunger Games).  When we read books for co-op, we dig deep into their symbols and styles and messages, which makes the reading experience so much better than if we were just reading for entertainment.  So sometimes when reading a book, we read only for entertainment and don't think about the moral much.  But when we read a novel to learn, then you can get a much better reading experience out of it.  The author isn't supposed to do the whole job for the reader, but is supposed to let the reader think for himself/herself.
But there are many fictional books out there that were written only to entertain and not to teach readers.  Those books are basically only entertainment, sadly, and aren't as memorable most of the time.
Books shouldn't only be for entertainment, or at least not all the time.  Sometimes I pick a book because the genre suits me at the time, because it calms me and takes me away to a land long ago.  Sometimes I read a book because I wonder how it's written.  It isn't wrong to read books only for entertainment.  But we should be careful with how we're entertained, what types of books we put into ourselves.  A lot of books are really good.  Some books truly are trash, or as my English teacher calls them "pulp fiction".  But the same can be said of video games and movies, poetry, magazines, etc.
Do you have any thoughts to add?


  1. Nope... no thoughts from me - except that I agree with everyone you said again. =) I, too, struggle with not being a fan girl... And I agree that it's okay to read an entertaining book every once in awhile. Sometimes I just need something silly and fluffy when the world is depressing me and I just need something happy and thoughtless.

  2. I agree with you. Sometimes I get so caught up in media of all kinds that I'm drowning out the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Stories are wonderful. They do teach us things, and sometimes entertain us.
    But the purpose of our life is to seek Him.
    Sometimes I become so immersed in a story (including the Hunger Games) that I begin to lose sight on what is real.
    We are on a mission. We have assignments,
    and anything that we put before our God is an idol; even the most innocent of things as a story.

    1. But at the same time, not all stories are futile. Like you've said, stories have morals; and learning from those morals can be vital to one's spirit.
      You're absolutely right about being careful of what entertains us. Because not all stories have a good moral to teach.