Archive for August, 2015

Stop books becoming furniture

August 15, 2015

Why do our patterns of reading books, watching films and videos and listening to music differ? Homes are furnished with book shelves where often each book is often read only once, if that. Music is listened to frequently and films and videos perhaps more than once.

Each format contains information appreciated by the senses, although different ones. The question arose when I took from the bookcase Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel. I had read it before, but when I reopened it I realized how little I recalled or even understood the content of a book, which offers an explanation of the evolution of human history over the past 13,000 years.

So many basic questions are discussed in the book, that like religious texts it could be studied for a lifetime, especially as new scientific information becomes available, which may alter some of the conclusions reached and raise new questions.

Instead of acquiring new books, there is often much to be gained by rereading older ones. New understanding can be acquired from the text which may have been missed in an original reading, and especially in the light of one’s own (hopefully) intellectual development. Jared Diamond offers that to me. A general conclusion is to apply to books the same treatment given to music and films….use them more than once.