Bookish Discussions: Do books have a purpose?

I know, I know, I’m finally doing another discussion post!  I recently published my review of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and it made me think a topic that I wanted to write about and discussion with all of you!  Today’s topic is the purpose of books.

If you haven’t read my review of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and you’d like to, I’ll put the link HERE.  In the book, the author frequently tells the reader that they shouldn’t be reading the book because there really isn’t any purpose behind it and it’s just a story.  When I was thinking about it, I first thought that the author was trying to say that we put way too much meaning to everything now and some things just come at face value.  Is that really true though?

The author also told the reader that they really shouldn’t be reading the book because it’s terrible and that they should really just stop reading now while they’re ahead.  What purpose does that serve?  Honestly, I read books because I want to read them for some reason.

So the real question is, why do people read books?  Why do people spend hours a day sitting in one place turning page after page?  Do you gain anything from it?

Some people’s first instinct is to say, ‘of course not!  You’re just wasting time!’.  But then I’m reminded of a quote from Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas:

“Libraries were full of ideas–perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons.”

Because isn’t that the purpose of books?  To provide inspiration and spread knowledge and allow people to enter different situations to learn something about themselves?  No story is simply a story.  Even the tales back in ye olden days always had a point.

So what do you guys think?  Should we really not be injecting meaning into writing/stories or is there already inherently meaning in all books and literature?

0 thoughts on “Bookish Discussions: Do books have a purpose?”

  1. I think books serve a purpose, even if we read for entertainment. I think we learn about the world and people, even if the story it set in a fictional world. I also think reading expands our vocabulary. And, I guess, even if we're just reading for entertainment, it serves that purpose. We need entertainment in our life. We can't just be working all the time. So, yes, they serve a purpose in my opinion.


  2. I think no book is useless, because they can subtly make criticism on anything and get away with it. Of course, not all books have to be thought-provoking, like some books are just for relaxation and enjoyment. I don't think reading is a waste of time! This is a really good question, though! Great post! Oh yes, I also tagged you in this tag here, and if you'd like to check it out…


  3. I agree somewhat with the author of Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl- but the reason why is convoluted- I had an abysmal English teacher who would have us read books, then get mad at us if we didn't see them as she saw them (ex. there were certain bits of symbolism that were so faint and buried, but she thought the entire point of the book hinged on it- and it didn't). However, reading books is never pointless- certain books may mean different things to different people. I think we do tend to overanalyze them for classes and studies, though, which may be why some people think reading is boring.~Litha Nelle


  4. Ugh I don't like people like that. Everyone reads a book differently and gets different things from it. Perhaps that was my problem with this book: I just didn't like the author telling me that it didn't matter because I thought some of it was meaningful.I always find it so sad when people tell me that they stopped reading because they were forced to read a classic in school and got so sick of it. There are so many books out there!Thanks for commenting, Litha!


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