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Books aren’t meant to be read? Yeah, right…

Published on April 6, 2014 by in Blogs

The other day, I discovered this article on The Telegraph’s website that claims that books aren’t meant to be read. I couldn’t disagree more, and so I decided it was time to write a blog…

The article, which you can read here, is based upon a survey which found that the average home contains 138 books and that half of those books have never been read. The author also concludes that “[he’s] surprised it is as low as a half” because “books aren’t meant to be read.”

 

The SocialBookshelves.com 'Read' Pile

The SocialBookshelves.com ‘Read’ Pile

 

Now, I appreciate that I buck the trend a little – I own around a thousand books (I’ve never taken the time to count them all), and only a score or so have yet to be read. Even the ones that I haven’t read are on my ‘to be read‘ pile, and I even keep them on a separate bookcase to differentiate them from the ones that I’ve finished.

But still, to say that “books aren’t meant to be read” is a grand statement, and one that Christopher Howse, the author of the piece, should be mildly ashamed of. The main gist of his argument seems to be that, by reading a book, you sully it.

 

Christopher Howse

Christopher Howse

 

I’ll agree that books do degrade when you read them – that’s part of what makes them books, and it adds character. I recently wrote about my love of second-hand books, and part of the reason that I love second-hand books is because they’ve been read before – it almost makes them more desirable.

Unfortunately, Howse seems to be preoccupied by the illusion of knowledge – it’s clear from both his pompous writing style and his attitude towards books, which he thinks should be seen and not read. I feel differently – books are meant to be read, and they thrive on it.

 

Books waiting to be read...

Books waiting to be read…

 

So let’s try to skew these figures for the better – search through the books on your bookshelves, pick out any that you haven’t read and either read them or pass them on to a friend. I’m always willing to consider a book for review if no-one else will take it!

But don’t let books die on your bookshelves – a book that isn’t read is like an album that’s never played. It’s stuck in the ether, between life and death – for heaven’s sake, put it out of its misery and read it.

 
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