Paper topic: books

In my seminar, we have to write a final paper on anything that has to do with the class (What makes a good life?).  I have decided to write my paper on books and reading.  What makes a better life, right?  I’m really excited about it and I think I can easily write 20 pages on books.  It’s basically just a philosophical paper, so I can do pretty much anything I want with it.  Questions my essay will likely tackle:

  • Why are books good?
  • Why do we enjoy books?
  • What makes a good book?  Why are some genres considered “better” than others?
  • Why do we still read when we have new media that is easier to access (tv, movies)?
  • Why do some people read a lot while others will barely read a book in their adult lives?

Any thoughts?

5 thoughts on “Paper topic: books

  1. Emily November 9, 2007 / 4:40 am

    Fun topic!First, I'll recommend a few books. 🙂 Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman is all about the love of reading. It's a short little book, and extremely enjoyable and might give you some ideas for your paper. Also – A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicolas Basbanes might be good to browse though. I haven't read the whole thing, but it's an incredible book. I read that you just finished The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby – I bet that gave you some great things to think about too!On the subject of why some adults read so much and why some read so little – my personal opinion is that there are two factors. The main one is how much their parents read to them and encouraged books to them when they were younger. I also think another important factor is what kind of reading they do in Middle School and High School and how much they enjoyed it. Some high school reading materials include nothing that's modern and more enjoyable. Sure it's important to have students read Shakespeare and Dickens, but it's also important to expose them to more modern works (for example, Life of Pi, or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time). Many people leave high school thinking books are boring and not something they ever want to spend time doing, based only on the books they've read in school. Those are my thoughts. 🙂


  2. Michelle November 9, 2007 / 5:21 am

    Thanks for the ideas. I'll definitely check them out.I agree about the middle school/high school thing. I only read a few books that I enjoyed in high school – I was just lucky that I have loved reading my whole life and didn't let that stop me. Some people are strange though. They find books as an adult. And some people just don't take to reading no matter how they are brought up. My brother and I were each encouraged to read as kids, but he just never showed an interest. He's been in the middle of the same book (The Da Vinci Code) for about 2 years.


  3. Kristie November 9, 2007 / 12:56 pm

    I'm currently writing a paper on why reading the play Hamlet is better than watching the movie version (with Mel Gibson since that's the one we watched in class). I'm making sure to say that books are better than movies/TV based on them because there's no one else's interpretations but your own when you read. Like, if you watch a movie, the director/producer/etc has to interpret it and have someone write it for the screen, but you get the first hand account when you read it first. I don't know if that's anything you were looking for in a comment :o) And I agree with the middle/high school thing too. I know I didn't really like many of the books I read for school.


  4. Michelle November 9, 2007 / 1:08 pm

    That's exactly the kind of thoughts I was looking for. 🙂 And I hadn't thought of that. You are less manipulated in a book (or only manipulated by one person).


  5. Kristie November 11, 2007 / 11:19 am

    Yes! I argued most of the time about the purer form of a original work. You can imagine everything yourself. Also, if you read rather than watch, you get to imagine the characters as you please, rather than being shown how they look. There's also less distraction if you focus on just the words rather than props or something in a movie.When you figure out the answer to your question of "Why do we still read when we have new media that is easier to access?" let me know. I'm curious myself why I might like reading so much. And I'll have something to tell Nick when he makes fun of me for reading so much :o)


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