Saturday, December 17, 2016

Why Books?

Books connect us to who we are not, in the hope we will become something more or other.

This is the conclusion I have come to while browsing the newest books being pushed onto me at the front of the Union Square B&N in New York City.

Fiction plays into the mysteries, passions, and situations we wish we could actually experience.  We buy and read books about people we’ll never interact with or become.  We explore storylines so far removed from the life we lead, hoping, and wishing that we could live out the stories we hold in our hands.

Non-fiction presents us with books that are supposed to improve our lives – telling us how to have better sex, make more money, lose weight, and do all the things we write resolutions about that we abandon before the ink on our list dries.  We buy the books that outline who we wish to become but seem to always fall short of.

So, if we agree that books, at best, offer us an escape or the false belief that knowledge and awareness is equivalent to skill and success, why do we hold books in such high regard?  Most fail to get us to really improve our lives.  Sure, it doesn’t seem like the book’s fault, but in the end, the reader couldn’t build an empire like Trump, have a great marriage, spot the winning real estate deal with no money down, or lose 35 pounds and keep it off.

Because books fail to achieve the results they claim to offer, more books are written, each claiming to be the real deal, the one that does what it says, the one that’s the best in genre. If enough books succeeded at helping people, few others on the subject would exist or dare to be published.  It’s no surprise to see so many business and health books fill the shelves.

Now, this may seem like a long post from a cynic, or a depressed soul, or some bitter, washed up, never-was.  Nothing of the sort.  I’m just on my questioning journey, wondering how, after millions of books have been published, people still venture to write many books and people still look to purchase them.  If what already exists can’t satisfy people, what does it say about books or people?

On the other hand, books do make us better.  With fiction, gaps are filled.  We simply can’t live all the lives one could live – not enough time, too risky, too costly, or too contradictory to each other.  Some things defy science, history or religion and the only way to experience it is through fiction.

As for non-fiction, books are only as good as the reader’s willingness and ability to follow up on the outlined prescriptions.  Sure, some books reach too far or are downright wrong, misleading, or incomplete, but in many cases people don’t follow through on the advice, instructions or strategies provided to them by the books they read.

Of course, the conclusion one should not make is that reading books is a useless proposition.  Nor should one say that writing them is a wasted endeavor.  But I’d like to see writers and readers provide an answer to the question I pose:  Why books?

Either staunchly defend books and get everyone to read, buy, and share books – or convince others to stop wasting their time with something that could be useless.  Same goes for writers – do we encourage them or crush their spirit?

You need to come up with your own answer:  Why books?

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2016 ©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby  

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