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Friday, July 9, 2010


David Brooks is so annoying.

He wrote a column in today's New York Times that I should love, because it is all about how great books are, especially for kids. But I can't fully love it, because his attitude is so darn prissy and annoying -- exactly the attitude that turns so many kids off to books.

Here's the link to his column:


I love that researchers gave kids books -- and that the kids got to CHOOSE their 12 books, and that those kids showed real improvements in their test scores. Yay for them, and yay for books.

But contrary to what David Brooks seems to be saying, books aren't just good because they make you a better student. Or because they are somehow hierarchical. Or because a better mind than your own created them and you should just shut up and listen.

Books are interactive in most profound way: the reader's imagination completes the story created by the writer.

Books force us not to just shut up and listen but to imagine and wonder and question.

I get his point about the twitchy anarchy/lack of deep thought of the internet, and also the value in seeing oneself as someone who has books.

But books are also fun, even the classics, even the really hard and deep books. He makes them sound like drudgery to be endured if you want to climb some ladder. Ew.

Do you love books? Why?

Rachel Vail


  1. I love books, but not because they help me perform better at school (which I'm sure they do, nonetheless), but because they get me into another completely different world, a different story with different characters that feel real. I can feel and live things I'll never do, I can dream and have fun and cry and laugh. That's a good book to me. A book that makes me feel. That gives me something to learn about life. Whether it's a classic or not. A book it's not made to be believed word by word. Books are meant to make us more critical, to wonder about things.

    I also don't agree with his Internet debate. Sure, the Internet has many drawbacks, but it's also encouraged people to write and create things and do it just because of art's sake, something which they'd probably never have done if they didn't have the Internet. Through the Internet now you can meet this people with the same artistic interests and keep up working, encouraging one another. Plus, authors now are more in contact with their fans than ever. So, yeah, the Internet can be bad if badly used. As it happens with everything, right?

    Laura, Spain.

  2. Beautifully said, Laura. I completely agree.