Saturday, March 26, 2016

Life is larger than books.

From By the Book by Álvaro Enrigue.

Books can be enormously transformative. A particular book, for a particular child, at a particular time, under very particular circumstances. Otherwise, books are often like the air. We move through it with the most minor of consequence.

Many wish to believe that books are so consistently consequential that they impute enormous concern into the selection of those books, the words that are used, the impressions that might be made, slights and stereotypes communicated, etc. So much worry over nothing. There is no evidence supporting that there is any measurable impact between individual books or even genres of literature and life outcomes. The determining variable is the act of reading, not what is read.

It is also easy to lose sight that even for enthusiastic readers, books are only a small, small proportion of their cumulative daily experience and knowledge. A point made by Enrigue.
If you had to name one book that made you who you are today, what would it be?
Life is larger than books. Any bully has more character-building effects on you than the most moving of books.

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