The Current Crisis Reinforces the Importance of Books

I recently disengaged myself from the small bit of social media that I was engaged in. The overwhelming barrage of keyboard battle waging wore me out. I couldn’t take anymore, and I have learned over the years the danger of publicly emoting over every cultural and political upheaval coming down the pike. Social media doesn’t really reward silence. You’re supposed to use your supposed platform to say something, and I cannot be bothered.

As a natural fact finder and researcher, I know that the vast majority of what we’re told is twisted and manipulated to produce maximum emotional reaction. The result is a further breakdown of civility and dialog, so I checked out. Measured, reserved voices have no place in such an environment.

As I took my leave and considered the way information is disseminated, eliminated, and policed across various platforms and it occurred to me how important it is to read books. Not just history books, although those top the list, but many books. Preferably, read books written at least 100 years ago. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t read newer books. A quick perusal here reveals that I have reviewed books from every modern era. On the Internet, information can be manipulated and withheld on the whim and according to the political preferences of powerful people. That makes it a poor substitute for the wisdom that has gone before, preserved in hard copies.

We’ve explored the choice to be made between digital reading and hard copies of books. I recognize that the day is coming when digital reading will completely overtake bound paper books, and that many people will welcome the development. I understand why, but I disagree. The only thing I offer concerning the current crisis is a bit of advice:

Put down your phone, get to know your neighbors as human beings, and pick up a book.


9 thoughts on “The Current Crisis Reinforces the Importance of Books

  1. Elspeth says:

    The most I will do at present is to point you guys to someone whose voice I think is like mine, reserved, measured, and focused on thinking rather than emoting during all this. I posted his recent piece on my links worth a look page, but I’ll add it here for those who forget that page exists, LOL. Note the quotes around the title so that you don’t miss the point as you skim quickly:


  2. nellperkins says:

    Thank you. I agree that “real” or paper books are best, but even I read fewer books than I used to because I’m online so much. I also need to thank you for being the person who first led me to Garvey’s Ghost. He’s a great blogger.

    As a former newspaper reporter, I sometimes wonder what’s wrong with me and then I remember – it’s old school journalism. I still think I need to get the story from as many angles as I’ve got time for. I still think that relying on a pre-digested narrative is stupid and dangerous. In short, I’m old, and old school. But I’ll tell you that these days I’m so trapped in a left wing employer and just so sick of my former side that I just about cannot stand to read any lefty stuff at all. You and Garvey’s Ghost and the American Conservative are about as lefty as I get — oh and there’s James Howard Kunstler and (gasp, a Russian!) Dmitri Orlov and Stephen Michael Greer (gasp! a neopagan!) but all three have pretty much been kicked out of the lefty club, so …..

    And you, Miss Elspeth, stay safe, stay sane. Even if I don’t comment, I read you and like you and find you very worthwhile. You help me stay sane. Thank you and keep it up!


  3. Elspeth says:

    Good morning, Nell! I hope you are staying safe also.

    Like you, I had a somewhat pathological need to see all sides of everything. And it has been helpful. I started out my adult life as a rip-roaring Democrat, then my pendulum swung hard right, but my searching helped me to see that while my beliefs still are, mostly right of center for religious reasons, there are a lot of issues on the right as well.

    So seeing both sides helped, but this realization that there are few truly white hats on the battlefield has freed me from the angst of screaming for or against one side or another. That’s really all that happens in social media. No one’s minds are truly changed.

    Books are also less inflammatory in their delivery. You can pause and think about the arguments presented.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Crystal Keller says:

    I love this post. I especially love the character you created holding a book. I’m sure this image has a name other than “character” but it’s late and I’m just not smart enough to know the cool techie term so sigh deeply and forgive my ignorance please. But I love what you made.

    I also love what you said. Thanks.

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  5. smkoseki says:

    I didn’t know Garvey was black (he doesn’t seem to wear race on his sleeve). OTOH I do know Ivor is Irish and the guy Ivor was interviewing is Indian – I only know that from their wicked accents :-).

    I didn’t see a “about be” for Harvey’s blog – can you give me an elevator summary?


  6. Elspeth says:

    Eh, when you’ve read him long enough it becomes pretty obvious that he’s black. And the fact that his blog title is a tribute to Marcus Garvey complete with a pic on the header is a clear indication as well.

    He’s friendly, as far as I can surmise, into Pan-Africanism, if you know what that is. It’s not how I lean after 400 years of American ancestry, but I appreciate him not having an inferiority complex, which means he isn’t interested in paternalistic coddling and handouts born of white guilt.

    I’ve been reading him for a LOOONG time. He’s black, he doesn’t hide it either. It’s as you said, he doesn’t wear it on his sleeve. Why should he? Facts are facts and reality is reality.

    He graced my comment section here once as well. I felt honored because I consider him an intellectual heavy hitter among black bloggers.


  7. Bike Bubba says:

    Amen on books, and amen on brainy black people. On the former, I’m almost constantly confronted by the need to reconcile what people will tell me vs. the clear implications of what I read. Even in fiction, you’ve got (except in sci-fi) the strong possibility that the original readers read it because they believed it was plausible. Reading old fiction is thus a good antidote to socialism in many regards.

    Regarding the latter, I’ve had the opportunity to work with more “brainy blacks” than I ever have before in life in the past few months. My current employer, IBM, has been something of a destination for blacks ever since IBM told North Carolina “we’d love to have a facility in Raleigh, but it won’t be there until Jim Crow is gone.” Wasn’t the only thing that put the kibosh on Jim Crow, but I don’t think it hurt.

    Liked by 1 person

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