Now, it is a book that I have not read yet, but I have had it on my shelf for at least a year now. I believe I have not read it because I think I already agree with everything in the book. I do not know I agree completely, but I do trust the source enough to give it the benefit of the doubt. In any case, I'm reading it tonight.
However, this post is not about the books on my shelves. This post is about the books on the shelves of my friends. Or rather, the lack thereof. You see, when I visit a friends house, the main thing I look for is the bookshelf. Books hold an amazing wonder for me, because they capture so much more information than anything else (short of the internet) that I have encountered. Finding out what my friends read is a great joy for me, because it allows me to take a glimpse into that which influences them.
All throughout growing up, whenever I would visit a friend's house, there would be bookshelves. And on those bookshelves were books that I had read, but infinitely more interesting were the books I had not. These were the books I borrowed. When I was little, I used to borrow books from my friends constantly. Now, I have almost stopped looking altogether, as the books I see are all written by Nora Roberts, Dean Koontz, Danielle Steel, James Patterson, and others who sell an enormous volume of books, simply because the New York Times believe them to be incredible authors.
But even then, that is when I am lucky to find books at all on their shelves. Of course, when I say 'book', I mean a written account of an event or events, fact or fiction. What I find on the shelves of my friends nowadays are simply comic books. Yes, they claim the comics are 'graphic novels' or 'manga', but the point remains: they are picture books. Yes, they have fantastic art, and have been around for decades; this does not keep them from being picture books. In fact, it kind of reinforces my whole point: they are picture books. I grew out of picture books around the age of seven.
And yet, even that is a preferable find to that which I recently discovered: A friend with no books. Not only that, but a friend who doesn't read. I still don't know what to think about that. His entertainment and education are derived solely from the internet and television. When I first discovered this, I was shocked. I had never really experienced anything quite like this before, and I knew not what to do.
So I asked. His response was that he simply does not like to read. For him, books are boring. I feel, for what I believe to be the first time in my life, truly and deeply astounded. I also feel that there is something I can do to help right this grave injustice against the written word. However, I'm not sure that it is a problem that can be fixed. I know in my heart of hearts that it needs to be fixed, but in a culture wherein television and the internet are the main sources of information, can it be fixed? Is there hope for a better world when many people would glance at this very post and think to themselves, "tl;dr"?
And on another note, you thought this was going to be about that book I mentioned, didn't you?