Well, I do! I love reading. I love reading books more than listening to podcasts or watching videos or taking online courses.
You could write this off as an age thing, a school thing, a boring thing...but I am definitely not alone in loving books so much.
First, let me share that I do love listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and I enjoy watching videos and taking online courses. But books have a special place in my heart, both fiction and non fiction. Here's why I love reading* so much.
There is something to listening to only my own voice as I read the words on the page: no extra sounds, no images (unless there are illustrations, of course), no music meant to influence my feelings.
Just reading the words in my mind helps me see something deeper within myself in the quiet of my understanding.
I need to make time for reading - focused and uninterrupted. As we all lose our ability to concentrate, this is a gift - and a habit worth cultivating.
Unless you are reading a book written just for marketing purposes (more on that below), the author took time to go deep into its subject matter. Either they chose to expand on it and be exhaustive in their writing, or they made an effort to synthesize and explain complex matters to make them more accessible to the general public. Regardless, their purpose is one of sharing knowledge. It's not a way to get million of likes, or to get their talk to go viral, or to be snappy while one-upping rivals. I am not going to be bombarded by algorithmic recommendations later on and there are no ads.
Books are free. You can get them at the library. In California you can order a book from any library in the state and it is delivered to your local library for free. I read all sorts of obscure books and textbooks this way. Your state or country probably has similar programs.
Books last: once you have a physical copy, it can last for generations. And I love the smell of books, old or new 😀
I also find that I remember a lot more when I read because I take my time with it: I highlight the parts I like, I sometimes re read the same paragraph a few times, I bookmark my favorite passages so I can go back to them... I lean into the book and savor its words and ideas.
Bookstores are cool. Libraries are awesome.
It takes time and discipline to write a book and often a book is the culmination of someone's work - at least until that moment. After years or decades of research and work, they set out to capture their understanding and knowledge in a lasting way. This is profoundly counter-cultural in a consumeristic society.
Of course this is not true of the millions of books published or self published just as a way to get clients and market oneself. Ugh. They might be an effective marketing tool, but the experience of reading them is definitely not the same.
I love that books have bibliographies and that authors mention their sources and inspirations. I have often followed an idea through a book's bibliography to find unexpected gems and amazing resources. When you do this, you also see why every generation needs its teachers. It's been an interesting trip to read Thomas Moore or Michael Meade, and to go back to James Hillman's writings, and Carl Jung's. You can see how concepts take shape and transform. It's a completely different way of learning.
Reading on your own often beats school. Yup. I used to be so broke for a time when I was young that I could only afford to shoot two rolls of film a month. I could not take a class or spend more money on film, but I really wanted to learn photography.
Then I found out that I could go to any college library and sit there and read books. Before I could take photo classes and eventually go to art school, that's how I learned and began to find my voice (there also weren't many online resources at the time).
That was hands down my best learning - together with meeting generous photographers (some who were my teachers later on and some who weren't) who shared their knowledge and encouraged me.
Sitting in the quiet of the library, learning the names of photographers, looking for a long time at their pictures, being immersed in them, engaging with the material slowly and based on my own interest helped me to discover my Self.
I could probably list many more reasons I love books, but this is what comes to me today. I hope it is enough to make you discover or rediscover the pleasure of quiet time reading.
*I focused on non fiction here, there is more to say about reading fiction, but I will leave it to others to expand on that 🙂