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Values in Books

February 21, 2008

When we go to a bookstore, what kind of books do we look for?

The saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” may not necessarily be true. People are often drawn to books that look interesting. Even more common is that people will read books that have been recommended to them. This is true for a lot of things.

But that is not what I mean.

Though we may not be conciously aware of it, when we skim the backs and inside jackets of books, we are looking for values. And not monetary values, either. The fact is that people look for books that they can relate to, or books that tell a good story.

Religion in books is important to some people. It is important to me, and it is one of the reasons I won’t read Philip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” series. Some people like romance. Some, like me, enjoy fantasy. It all has to do with personal choices and preferences.

Just because it is in print, that doesn’t mean that everyone who reads it will think that it is a good book. Example: I recently read the book “Black and White” by Paul Volponi as a part of the required reading for my book club. In first person, it tells the story of a black boy and a white boy who go around robbing people to pay for high school, senior year expenses, and how they get punished. The description on the back sounded good, but, having read the book, I can say that I did not enjoy it. Why? Because one boy went unpunished, when it was partly his fault, and because I could not relate to it. It was not my kind of story. I am not one for teenage-y, angst-ridden books. My idea of a good book is “Oliver Twist”, “The Chronicles of Narnia”, and “The Call of the Wild”.

I also read the book “Sold” by Patricia McCormick. (I didn’t even have to refer to my reading list to remember the author’s name, what does that tell you?) It was well researched, and is written in the first-person perspective of a Hindu girl, from India, who is sold by he stepfather into prostitution. It is written in the style of a journal, like “Out of the Dust”, and details her struggle for survival and how she is rescued by American missionaries. I would recommend it to anyone.

The fact is, many of us read certain books because of how they look or sound from covers and descriptions, and there is nothing at all wrong with that. It won’t kill us to read a dull book every once in a while. We don’t have to like everything that we read. Still, its best that if you hear about a book, that you borrow it from a friend or from the library before you buy it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. February 21, 2008 11:10 am

    S.E. You are one one of the most intelligent, eloquent, and well-read teenagers I’ve listened to a long while. Keep it up!

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