In Defense Of Books And Newspapers

Curl up with a good book. Get lost in a bookstore.  These are classic clichés we hear often.

But as traditional expressions, they still ring true.


BOOKS: They even look smart!

Some of us are old school and still prefer holding a newspaper in hand as they read the daily news. And there are many who prefer a bound book filled with a great story on its pages versus downloading an e-book on a hand-held device.

They Are Relevant

Printed communications have not lost their place in this world.

Indeed, they are tangible and make the stories seem more palpable; they leave their marks on us.

The Benefits

To me, printed material seems simpler to manage. For example, if I forgot a book character’s name or role in the story, I can swiftly fan through pages and mentally gauge the spot where they first appeared in the story.

Another personal plus for me is decorating with books. They make a home feel comfortable and rounded. Their pages suggest a shared intimacy between the story and reader – a special relationship that is cherished.

Cherished Memories

And who hasn’t held an aged news clipping in their hand, while realizing they were holding a piece of the past? When holding an old newspaper article, one may feel a magical conveyance back to another time and feel an improved connection to the events.

These mementos are more than just words; rather, they can transport readers to a different time and let them feel as though they are able to hold a tiny piece of that history in their own hands.

I had this sensation when we came across a vintage telephone book from the Pullman neighborhood, where my paternal grandparents lived. Thumbing through to the “V” page in the yellowed book and running my eyes down the page, I found their name, address and phone from many years ago. I felt an incredible tie-in to my ancestors and had an surreal sensation of being able to call that phone number and have a grandparent answer the phone.


That's them right there: Van Houw Frank (and Susie) residing at 36 East 102 Street in Chicago

This worn publication was proof that they lived there.  In a small way, the home they made was memorialized in print.  It lent validation to their lives.

And nearly the same happened when visiting my dear cousin, Anita.  She’s a conscientious record-keeper and showed me a clipping from Chicago’s Blizzard of ’67.  It was captivating to learn how Chicagoans dealt with their winters – not much different than what we hear today.  There were strangers assisting one another and, unfortunately, others who took criminal advantage of the situation.

Ironically, it was printed publications that sustained our family while our father worked as head pressman at R.R. Donnelley.  The large printing company churned out tons of catalogs, directories, news and magazines each year – doing its part in keeping our words and language alive.

In fact, they preserved pieces of history.  Our history.  That's you and me I'm speaking of here.


The printed word.  It still works.

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