With all the hype about Google Books, e-readers, closing bookstores, and our changing brains adapting to the Internet, we can forget how important books are, and have been, in our world and our history.
From baby books with cardboard pages to teenage romance novels to great works of literature, books accompany us throughout our education and, if you’re the reading type, for the rest of our lives.
Even if you’re not a reader, books are impossible to ignore or avoid — whether it’s an employee training manual, a dictionary of industry terms, a client list, or a book of protocol and procedure, books are an integral part of just about every workplace.
I, for one, don’t think that books will become completely obsolete any time soon — after all, you can’t doodle in the margins of an e-reader or bring your laptop to a sandy beach.
Even Google has its limitations…
Google, as the new powerhouse of information, had the idea to digitize every book ever published and make them all freely available on the Internet. However, copyright and antitrust laws brought those plans to a sudden stop in federal court.
Ayn Rand’s most famous novel, Atlas Shrugged, tells the story of a dystopian United States in which the innovators, thinkers, and producers of the world are continually exploited by government and society. When a genius named John Galt leads a strike with those exploited leaders, the world quickly falls into a state of disorder.
Then there are the books that most of us have at least heard of, even if we didn’t have to read them in high school or college English Literature classes. The Classic Books studylist details some of these influential works that have stood the test of time.
Kafka’s The Metamorphosis tells the story of a man who transformed overnight into a giant beetle — certainly an experience causing fear and distress!
On a deeper level, the novel uses this absurd premise to explore human feelings of inadequacy and guilt.
Some have called Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina the greatest novel ever written, providing a basis for its reputation as authoritative and perfect as a standard of its kind.
The story is about the title character’s affair with a married man, and the tragedy that befalls her search for peace.
In Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, a beautiful young man sells his soul in exchange for eternal youth.
Over time, the influence of his mentor and his own selfishness, both evil in nature, cause his soul, reflected in a painting, to become hideous and deformed.
Since the invention of the bound book about two thousand years ago, books have made a lasting impression on our lives and society. They record history, tell outrageous tales, and posit revolutionary ideas. And even with computers, smartphones, and other rapidly-advancing technology, I imagine the good old-fashioned book will remain a staple in our intellectual lives for at least the foreseeable future.
Read any good books lately? Did they have interesting and challenging vocabulary to learn? Have you seen a story about books that would make a good Vocablet? Tell us all about it in the comments!