If you don’t already follow Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings on twitter or receive her emails, you might want to consider it. For me, she is a source of science ideas and children’s book reviews and all sorts of deep thoughts on a myriad of topics. And she always suggests complementary readings at the end of her posts.
Here she reports on a short, animated Ted-Ed that romps through the history of books.
“Carl Sagan saw books as ‘proof that human beings are capable of working magic,’ Popova begins. ‘Reading books is the most glorious pastime that humankind has yet devised,’ Polish Nobel laureate Wisława Szymborska observed in her memorable meditation on why we read. …
“Books, Susan Sontag wrote in her beautiful letter to Borges, grant us ‘a way of being fully human.’
“Indeed, any thinking, feeling human being knows that it is impossible to be fully alive and awake to the world without reading, and so we’ve come to see books not only as essential to our humanity.
“But this wasn’t always so. …
“How did something so nascent become so elemental to our humanity? That’s what educator Julie Dreyfuss and animator Patrick Smith … explore in this short TED-Ed animation chronicling the history of books:
As the book evolves and we replace bound texts with flat screens and electronic ink, are these objects and files really books? Does the feel of the cover or the smell of the paper add something crucial to the experience, or does the magic live only within the words, no matter what their presentation?