Friends can be the source of the worst advice you will ever get in your life. But they may just save your life. I guess the difference comes down to having, not friends, but good friends.
Books are just like that. People say reading is good for you and that is not necessarily true. They say, “Well, it’s better than watching movies or television.” But then just about anything is. Movies and television are for people who have given up. Like people who eat at McDonald’s. They’re not even trying anymore.
Okay, okay! We all want a Big Mac or a great movie every now and then — I admit it. But let’s not make a thing of it.
So, yes, books are better than TV; but assuming that is not where we want to set the bar I would say, that like friends it is important to choose good books.
But what do you mean by, “good books”? Okay, fair question. Well, I do not mean exclusively, books that are good for you. I do mean those, but I mostly mean books that are well written. But then that is quite ambiguous as well. Sorry. Okay, why don’t you just decide for yourself what good means and stop bothering me.
So where was I? Yes, choose good books — And this is not hard to do. There are so many wonderful books out there in a wide variety of genres.
I suppose you do have to dive in a bit and take some chances in order to find the good ones. But when you do it is a magical moment. You have not just found a bit of wisdom or a great story, you have made a friend.
Good books begins like friendships. Your passing through a bookstore or wandering through Amazon when when you run into a great title. Reading the jacket is like that getting to know you conversation. You check the reviews to find out what the other books are saying about them. Eventually you sit down for a nice conversation. You usually know in the first couple of chapters if you two are going to hit it off. They give you advice, keep you company, share experiences; and in the end, when it really goes well, the book becomes a part of you.
Regarding friends, a person will only have a few in their life they will call best friends. Likewise, there will be a handful of books who will always be a little closer to you than others.
Friends are nice, good friends are crucial. The same is true of books. So I say, be nice to all books, but make friends with the good ones.