Why You Need To Read Books

Over the course of my intense, fast-paced life of luxury, people have often stopped me on the street to ask me questions about life. Mostly they just want to know why I’m staring at them, but sometimes they want to know the secrets to my success.

“Oh you poor, foolish people,” I say to them. “I obviously cannot reveal my many secrets to you willy-nilly, they would overwhelm you with their all-encompassing understanding of all that life is.”

These answer-seekers plead and beg, hoping that I will reveal just one of my plethora of secrets and obscure vocabulary words. Usually, I end up abruptly running away, leaping onto a passing car, and escaping to one of my various hideouts. But today, I have decided to let my legions of devoted readers in on one of my well-guarded secrets.

Books. Books are good. You should read them more. They will make you less stupid.

There it is folks, a delicious, bite-sized nugget of wisdom. I would end this column right here, but then I would be far below the normal word count for a column and The Heights Metro editor would beat me for my insolence. So, I’ll elaborate.

Books. Books have words in them. Good words, well thought-out words that have been put in a specific order to convey an idea, or a story. By looking at these words you can gain a better understanding of just about anything in the world.

Reading expands your mental capacity, vocabulary, understanding of people, places, and things, and, most importantly, your capacity for moral thought and contemplation. This is the important part. If you want to be a better person, if you want to accomplish meaningful things, you should start by reading.

Now that we’re done with that, it’s time to move on to the second part of this little tirade. The second part is why you should read paper books, real honest-to-god, glue-bound books, written in ink.

“But Archer, I want to use my e-reader, it’s so light and convenient,” you whine. “I can just click a button and buy a book.”

“Well la di da,” I respond. “Why don’t you just click a button and buy heroin, you miserable monster.”

“Archer,” you say. “That’s a gross misrepresentation of the argument, your blatant dismissal of —”

Let’s just cut you off right there. E-readers are kind of stupid. I don’t have a great argument for this, but the truth is, I don’t care. Books are better, they smell better, they look better, they feel better, they pass on information in a more personal and meaningful way, and they won’t turn against you when the machines rise in 2037 and take their bloody revenge.

At this point you might realize that I’ve rambled on for almost the entirety of this column without coming to much of a conclusive point, or in any way relating this to the City of Boston and the Metro section as a whole. If I had my way, I would continue rambling for pages and pages until this newspaper is nothing but a bizarre collection of my thoughts. But “the man” says I can’t do that, so let’s find ourselves a conclusive point somewhere in this mess.

Now that my well-thought-out and extremely intellectual argument has persuaded you to read paper books for hours on end, it’s time to suggest a place to buy them. The Brattle Book Shop, located on West Street just off the common, is one of the best used bookstores in Boston. The only reason I don’t declare it the best is because I’m always fair and never rush to judgement. Now if you don’t haul your sorry self over to the Brattle Book Shop, where you can browse a gargantuan selection of books, including fascinating rarities and classics, you’re an unintelligent ape, unworthy of your place in the City of Boston.

In all seriousness, in the war to reclaim your humanity and to expand your interior world, a bookshop is always important, and Brattle is a perfect place to start. It’s a Boston staple, filled with books of various genres and persuasions, it smells like paper and looks like an over-cluttered public library. All in all, it’s a beautiful place, and should be your next destination for any upcoming jaunts into Boston.

Featured Image by Breck Wills / Heights Graphic

April 9, 2015