Tuesday, May 27, 2014

There is a fine balance between loving books and living life

Heh. Really Good Books, Part II by David Brooks. A perfectly fine but reasonably innocuous pair of columns. Always interesting to see what an intelligent and accomplished person thinks about the books they have read. His stated intent in the first column:
People are always asking me what my favorite books are. I’ve held off listing them because it seems self-indulgent. But, with summer almost here, I thought I might spend a couple columns recommending eight books that have been pivotal in my life.
The column's are fine but I found the comments as interesting if not more so. Partly because, with a few exceptions, it was a sharing discussion. Yes, there are a handful of haranguers berating him for not having encountered more multicultural or gender writers who were pivotal in his life. Also a handful who managed to slip in some sharp elbowed comments to the effect that they were impressed that a right winger like Brooks could read. I can't help but laugh at NYT readers of such exquisite sensibilities that they imagine Brooks to be anything other than a solid centrist.

I like Brooks' closing paragraph.
I suppose at the end of these bookish columns, I should tell you what I think books can’t do. They can’t carve your convictions about the world. Only life can do that — only relationships, struggle, love, play and work. Books can give you vocabularies and frameworks to help you understand and decide, but life provides exactly the education you need.
There is a fine balance between loving books and living life.

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