Digital Works vs. the Hard Copy Books

In the past, some of my students have opted for the Kindle-type digital books instead of ordering and studying the actual paper books. At first, I thought it was a viable option, but as I have progressed in my teaching preferences the last few years, I have evolved to consider only using the hard copies of the books themselves. My reasoning extends to three points:

  1. A serious student will learn to annotate in their books, argue with the author, underline the thesis, the problems, the solutions, and in the margin will write their interesting personal epiphanies from their studies.
  2. A serious student will begin to fill a bookshelf and eventually their little library of the great ideas that have changed their world. Each book will represent to them a turning point of thought, comprehension, and contemplation.
  3. A serious student will return to their books as they add experience and learning and will compare their past annotations to the current thoughts and understanding, thus showing to the student their deep growth and progress.

I am sure Kindle-type digital books have their place. Already I can think of a few reasons why one might want to read digitally. They are handy, searchable, and annotate-able. not to mention, a hundred books or more only weigh the weight of the Kindle Reader. Those are arguably excellent reasons to prefer the Kindle. However, a recent study shows that despite the availability, facility, and lightweight-ness of a Kindle, students comprehend far more from reading and studying a real tangible book.

Still, it is up to you, dear reader, to choose for yourself. The following books are awaiting your decision, whether you wish to purchase digitally or purchase the Real McCoy—The Genuine Article—.  May you enjoy your summer!

1776 The Wealth of Nations, by Adam Smith, selections (video)
1798 Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
1815 Emma, by Jane Austen (a book on education, authority, worship, artificial people)
1818 Frankenstein, Mary Shelley
1838 Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville (Volume II, Chapters 1-26)
1850 That Which is Seen and that Which is Not Seen, Frederic Bastiat
1862 Les Miserables (Abridged), by Victory Hugo (used book link)
1848 The Communist Manifesto and Other Revolutionary Writings (Dover Thrift Editions)
1947 Diary of a Young Girl, by Ann Frank
1874-1965 Churchill, by Paul Johnson
1865 Annotated Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
1910 What’s wrong with the World, by G.K. Chesterton
1922 The Waste Land, by T.S. Eliot
1941 The Weight of Glory, essays by C.S. Lewis, The Inner Ring, Weight of Glory
1953 The Silver Chair, by C.S. Lewis
1954 Lord of the Flies, William Golding
1970’s Essays, A World Split Apart and A Reflection on the Vendee Uprising, and by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
2005 Queen of Katwe, Tim Crothers

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