General Question

partyprincesslovesdramas's avatar

Does a (written) book have a soul...?

Asked by partyprincesslovesdramas (1points) December 30th, 2008

Even more: can you tell someone’s core personality, by reading the bookcovers in his library?

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16 Answers

AstroChuck's avatar

No. Neither do people.

Jeruba's avatar

No. A book is a material object. It probably reveals something about the author, but I wouldn’t be too quick to say what.

A person’s library may reveal something about him, yes, and about his interests, tastes, preferences, and belief system. But it may also reveal something about all his unfulfilled good reading intentions, about book club selections he was too lazy to opt out of, and about the folks who have bought books for him over the years. The chances that it reveals anything like a soul, a character, or a “core personality” are slim indeed.

Knotmyday's avatar

Yes. And they all need to be saved. Quick, light the Pope-signal!

loser's avatar

Reggae got soul! Just ask Toots and the Maytals!!!

AstroChuck's avatar

Good point. And don’t forget Jimmy Cliff, the GOD of reggae.

CathyBryant's avatar

Though I don’t believe a book has a soul, I do believe that you can tell a lot about a person by what they read and how many books they own. If they own a lot of books they are probably avid readers, which says a lot right there. Avid readers either read quickly or they spend a lot of time reading. A person who reads a lot of Stephen King is a different kind of person than a person who reads Flannery O’Connor.

Jeruba's avatar

And a person who reads both—?

Knotmyday's avatar

Competely soulless. A ravenous book-devouring monstrosity.

Bene legere saecla vincere

nebule's avatar

possibly but doubtful…
but anything’s possible
in my book

Jeruba's avatar

@Lynne, do you mean you actually doubt that anyone would? I know many people whose reading range is very broad, broader than that by far (that is a fairly narrow range: 20th-century fiction). My own comment here says this:

I am not ashamed to be seen reading anything from Zen philosophy to a comic book, from a dictionary to People magazine (which I do in the dentist’s office to keep up with popular culcha). I read serious fiction and popular thrillers, classic literature and lame, poorly edited, self-published quasi-novels.

People also read for many reasons besides passing the time, and some people read outside their own range of taste in order to broaden their view.

nebule's avatar

@Jeruba… I was merely answering the question and wasn’t in response to your statement.

In response to your statement…I think it’s highly possible for people to read many genre’s of books…anything in fact…my taste in books is rather broad also.

Jeruba's avatar

Ah, ok. Thanks, @Lynne. Sometimes it is really hard to tell which remarks are give-and-take in dialogue form and which are harking back to the original question.

Perhaps Knot also did not mean that a person who reads both O’Connor and King is completely soulless.

Knotmyday's avatar

Did too, did too. To me, “soul” refers to a certain genre of music and delicious food, not the religio/philosophical construct. Spirit, yes. Soul, no.

Jeruba's avatar

So a person who reads widely has no soul? What?

Knotmyday's avatar

Just “people” in general.

Cat4thCB's avatar

A book to have a soul? Ridiculous!

A book is a dead and pointless object. It wastes space and the time it takes to clean it of dust and spider webs. Their musty smell makes you sneeze. They will induce sleep and rude yawns. The large yellow ones invite strangers to phone you at will.

However, one must admit that when hands, eyes, and brain are simultaneously engaged to glance over, look through, and pour over it, that a significant purpose for its feeble existence does emerge. It now begins to teach, mobilize, disarm, inspire, moralize, countermand, disassociate, and liberate. It is through this treatment that a book will Change opinions, Incite to action, Evoke feelings, Excite imaginations, Awaken hope, and Give notice.

A book is most special when its publication is forbidden, its existence protected, its pages read in secret.

But a book to have a soul? Ridiculous!

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