What Books Do For The Human Soul (Brain Pickings)
Maria Marklove stashed this in Erudition
IT SAVES YOU TIME
It looks like it’s wasting time, but literature is actually the ultimate time-saver — because it gives us access to a range of emotions and events that it would take you years, decades, millennia to try to experience directly. Literature is the greatest reality simulator — a machine that puts you through infinitely more situations than you can ever directly witness.
First time I've heard of books referred to as a reality simulator.
IT PREPARES YOU FOR FAILURE
All of our lives, one of our greatest fears is of failure, of messing up, of becoming, as the tabloids put it, “a loser.” Every day, the media takes us into stories of failure. Interestingly, a lot of literature is also about failure — in one way or another, a great many novels, plays, poems are about people who messed up… Great books don’t judge as harshly or as one-dimensionally as the media…
I'm not sure I would call this preparation for failure but it does help to read stories of fail.
I agree with her four points (though fairly self-centered) yet they miss the main value for me (which obviously doesn't universally apply to all books):
Books give the opportunity of personally listening to the what some of the greatest minds in civilization were actually thinking about–in their own words–and in exactly the way they wanted to say it at the time.
Now that's cool.
You're right, getting a person's thoughts in their own words is quite helpful to understanding.
I suppose that is part of why Twitter and blogs are so popular these days.