Perhaps the best lesson of books is not to venerate them — or at least never to hold them in higher esteem than our own faculties, our own experience, our own peers, our own dialogues.
So declares Cristina Nehring in “Books Make You a Boring Person.” I’m afraid that, in doing so, she has dramatically overestimated the quality of my faculties, my experience, my peers (no offense), and my dialogues. Daniel Green at The Reading Experience has already posted a wonderful response, in which he points out the obvious: that Nehring apparently makes no distinction between books and good books:
Reading good books, however, books conveying knowledge or providing an engaged experience that cannot be duplicated in other ways, is an invaluable activity–even if reverse snobs writing for the New York Times think it’s boring.
Green also does us the service of contextualizing the snippets of Emerson’s “The American Scholar” that Nehring misreads in order to prop up her straw man.