As we get ready to spend some time in from the cold weather, I’m looking forward to settling down with a good book and immerse myself in one of my favorite pastimes. When I opened the Boerne Bookshop many people asked me if it would be a viable enterprise in a world that does not seem to read books anymore. As the past two (very interesting) years have shown me, there are still many people who like to read books.

Why do we do it? Why do we prefer this archaic process when we could listen to a podcast or watch a movie or You Tube? The answer is difficult to articulate and may be different for every reader but I believe it has something to do with the mental processes involved when you read as opposed to other information gathering techniques. When a person watches or listens to something they are a passive recipient of a flow of information. When you read, you must process those little black marks and analyze the sentence structure before you get to appreciate the information. This mental activity does two things; it solidifies the information in your mind and forces the mind to create connecting information so it all makes sense. This connecting information is the imagination process and is what causes us to “see in our mind’s eye” what the author is attempting to get across. “The girl climbed the tree” is a very limited amount of information about a scene but our mind takes that and weaves a thousand different details into full picture. A picture that is different for everyone. That process is what we enjoy so much.

A limited but applicable analogy to the question of “why not just watch the video?” is to ask a runner “why not just take the car?”, ask a rock climber “why not just take a picture?”, ask a tennis player “why not just be a spectator?” Like these people who enjoy the feeling of their bodies striving and growing, we enjoy the expansion and sharpening of our minds. There in nothing like creating a world in our mind that we can experience, examine, test, and recreate to our heart’s content. Give it a try, the only limit is your own imagination and that will grow with every word you read.

Always in pursuit of intriguing books,