Skip to main content

Why you should read books: the Decalogue

Stories and News No. 1229

Italy is at the bottom of Europe, and it is not well placed in the world either, in number of book readers and amount of time spent with one of these particular objects in our hands. How can you forget about all this while you are about to cover the blank page with your words? Therefore I feel the moral, civil and very interested obligation, to give my personal contribution.

One, because it's easy and anyone who can read can do it. You need both hands free or even just one if you put it down somewhere. You must have the time to do it, of course, not everyone has this privilege, because time is a privilege, but even with one page a day you can read Moby Dick. My edition is just over 400 pages. You see? One page a day, five minutes, and in about a year and a half you will have got one of the greatest novels inside your head.

Two, because there are no commercials in a book, right? You browse the pages, jumping from one and other as you like, you may click anywhere, even without looking and banners or various advertisements will never come out to convince you to buy. You have already bought something: that is the book, but not just that. Speaking about a novel, you paid for an entire story, with no interruptions or undue invasions, no deceptive or subliminal advertising, plus the lives of characters and places that will seem real to you, but aren't. But no novel will lie to you on this point. It is the result of someone's invention and it is clear by definition, no deception, just a story, all for you.

Three, you don't need Wi-Fi to read a book. You don't have to connect with your modem... or steal the signal from the neighbor. You don't have to connect with anyone, except whoever wrote the book itself, despite in another time and place. But it's a one-way connection. Going back to Moby Dick, it is not that you find Melville's ghost in the house, do not worry, yet his voice, through the words imprinted on the page, will reach you intact, clear and precise, like the first time it was transferred by the author in person into the priceless tale.

Four, top right, left, or bottom of the page you are reading, you will not receive notifications of any kind, ever. Because the purpose of the book is not to grab your attention by constantly distracting you, quite the opposite. All novels of this world desire, as well as those who wrote them, is for your attention to take hold of the story and focus solely on it.

Five, especially in times of economic crisis, moreover the world in lockdown, devastated, distanced and isolated because of the virus, the books are still today the most effective method to travel everywhere, without any risk, staying safe at home. Or even outside, wherever you like.

Six, speaking of viruses, computer viruses too, or any other nature, books are immune to them. That is, they are already vaccinated at birth. What am I saying? The books themselves are vaccines. They must be taken continuously, of course, and the recall is optional, even if in the case of masterpieces like Moby Dick it would not hurt a review from time to time. What do they protect us from? An infinity of terribly lethal diseases, which affect one of the most important qualities and therefore abused by sellers of nothing: our imagination.

Seven, the books do not need to be updated. They are always the same and that's the beauty of it. You take them back days later, months, even decades later and find the same passage that you liked so much, within the unchanged paragraph, in the same chapter at the time, on the same page.

Eight, you don't need to store lots of memory, which are periodically filled with huge amounts of useless junk, downloaded without your knowledge or not. It is your memory that will welcome the book. And it will do it all by itself, highlighting according to your tastes the parts that most have aroused emotions or thoughts. You have it from the factory in your head, it's a predefined capacity, you don't have to put your hand in it, it's also free and as long as it works there will always be room for another book.

Nine, books help in love more than any other object or living soul. Let's face it once and for all: where do you think you can find the best written words to say I love you and all the rest? And it's not just about love, but every other thing, think about it. The words to say everything, and if you find a classic like Moby Dick at home, well, you have almost all of them in one volume, a perfect sentence for any occasion. Do you remember? A year and a half, one page a day and then tell me if I'm wrong.

Ten, books change the world. Because books change people, I just proved it. Nothing like books threaten dictators and evil governments, inspire noble gestures and epochal reforms, pushing the whole of humanity to take a leap forward. Nothing like books, of what was created by man, has been censored and banished, feared and hated, but also loved and defended at the cost of life.

That's why even today the most revolutionary and modern gesture you can do is take a book, open it and start reading.

Subscribe to Newsletter

My last book: A morte i razzisti (Death to racists)