The revolutionary act of reading a book

For many of the societal forces who wish to keep you click-clicking through ad-riddled TV, tap-tapping your way through the ad-laden pages of the Web and flip-flipping your way through ad-gouged magazines, books really suck.

The problem, at least for them: There are no ads, no opportunities to ramp up your rate of consumption. When you open a book, the conversation that commences between you and the author is unmediated by commercial messages.

It’s an advertiser’s nightmare, really. Long hours are spent reading nothing but the author’s thoughts. Every hour spent on a book is an hour unspent on exhortations to buy-buy-buy.

Which is exactly why we should read-read-read – books especially. When a big chunk of your life is devoted to absorbing commercial appeals, that leaves a lot less of your life for absorbing someone’s provocative thoughts.

For example, you could watch cable TV in the hopes of learning more about climate change, or you could read a book like “Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet” by Mark Lynas.

TV will give you tiny snippets of reporting on the potential effects of global warming, but you’ll never know where those snippets will pop up amid the barrage of advertising. And how can you cobble together something coherent from snippet-reporting, some of which even denies the existence of climate change?

In contrast, science writer Mark Lynas will give you a relentlessly coherent description of what the world will be like every time the global thermometer rises by a centigrade degree. And you don’t have to watch anyone tell you that the can of sugar water they’re holding has made their life oh-so-much-better, as attested by their Cheshire-cat grin.

So go ahead, consider yourself a revolutionary in our hyper-capitalistic culture by having the temerity to turn off the TV and crack open a book. It’s the difference between engaging your brain and grabbing your wallet.