Last holiday weekend, this is what I set out to do:
And then I was Nooked.
I received this ereader as a gift; however, I don’t know that I’ve made peace with it yet. I’m a book reader. I come from a family of book readers. (Also crossword puzzle doers but that’s another story). Recently, when I refreshed my apartment I had a small Ikea library built to showcase my favorite books, ones I turn to daily for words of advice, wisdom, humor or insight. Seems I’m not alone in book reading nor library building nor thinking about electronic media versus “old fashioned” media.
David Brooks in the New York Times writes:
The Internet-versus-books debate is conducted on the supposition that the medium is the message. But sometimes the medium is just the medium. What matters is the way people think about themselves while engaged in the two activities. A person who becomes a citizen of the literary world enters a hierarchical universe. There are classic works of literature at the top and beach reading at the bottom. A person enters this world as a novice, and slowly studies the works of great writers and scholars. Readers immerse themselves in deep, alternative worlds and hope to gain some lasting wisdom. Respect is paid to the writers who transmit that wisdom.
This is kind of a lovely way to describe what happens a young reader or new reader; worlds open up in new and exciting ways.
I have books (aka: worlds) stacked up next to my couch that grows bigger by the day and I can’t wait to dive into all of them. This month’s reading list (in no particular order): Tony Bourdain's Medium Raw. The new Divvies cookbook. The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook. Mr. Peanut. Confessions of a Prairie Bitch. Robert Parker's Walking Shadow. And the Dos Caminos cookbook.
What does this have to do with food allergies? I’m not entirely sure. Maybe it’s back to that expansion thing: when life feels restricted (by diet, circumstance, finances, infirmity, etc..) books are a wonderful tool. An escape, perhaps yes; however, the best books always bring you back to you, to the core of the collective human experience and through that experience you can connect with others.
...the literary world is still better at helping you become cultivated, mastering significant things of lasting import. To learn these sorts of things, you have to defer to greater minds than your own. You have to take the time to immerse yourself in a great writer’s world. You have to respect the authority of the teacher. Right now, the literary world is better at encouraging this kind of identity. The Internet culture may produce better conversationalists, but the literary culture still produces better students.
I’m a student of life, of the body, of the mind: always learning and growing and expanding. If you’re reading this blog, you are too – looking for knowledge, entertainment or a connection to a shared experience. Maybe how you do it doesn’t really matter, through book or through Nook.
Or maybe it does.
What do you think?
Who are your teachers right now?
Who’s helping you to expand?
Does the medium really matter?