Spotlight: How books can open your mind [Lisa Bu for TED]

A little while ago I told you all of my misadventures with Guy Browning’s book ‘Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade‘. The tl;dr version is that I regularly used to swap books with a boy I really fancied – he was a bit of a book snob – and it turns out a compilation of weekly comedy Guardian columns is *not* the equal of Haruki Murakami’s ‘Kafka by the Shore’. Our exchanges terminated there. Incidentally, the Guardian actually reported today that Murakami is the favourite to be awarded the Nobel prize for literature (although sadly Guy Browning didn’t pen that particular article).

Where am I going with this? Well it happens that I recently got my hands on another of these compilation books by Browning: ‘Never Push When It Says Pull’. While I thoroughly enjoyed it, there was one sentence that sat awkwardly with me. When talking about ‘How to Read Books’, Browning says:

Someone reading a book is likely to be living a far more interesting life on the page than in reality. Interestingly, one of the things you don’t find characters in books doing is sitting down and reading a book for a couple of hours.

Of course this is said with tongue securely in-cheek; Browning has constructed his livelihood around the written word. But it still got me thinking about the traditional stereotype of the boring book nerd, so often juxtaposed with the cool and adventurous wild-child who wouldn’t be caught dead in, near, on, around or adjacent to a library. But books don’t have to be this “parallel universe” (again, Browning’s words). Books exist to enrich the rest of your life – to fill up your head with the knowledge and ideas which translate into actions or new outlooks, approaches and inspirations to go out there and DO the things you’ve read about. And in this TED talk, Lisa Bu explains a similar sentiment beautifully. I’m sure that if you’re reading this, I’m preaching to the choir. But if you haven’t already seen it, then by the same token I’m sure this talk will make you smile as much as it did me.

What do you think?

Not a strictly bookish question, but do you guys have a favourite (or a handful of them!) TED talk? There are so many on YouTube that I haven’t come anywhere close to having seen them all, and I’d be delighted to know which have resonated with you guys so that I can check them out myself.  I like to think we’re likeminded folks around here.

Until next time! x




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