Let Books be Books

Many books today seem afraid to rely on pure text. They are books that seem to be embarrassed to be what they are: books, that is, orderly collections of words formed into sentences and paragraphs.

Too many books are filled with one-sentence paragraphs (usually a sign of poor style and impatience), call-outs that repeat what is in smaller print elsewhere on the page (annoying), stand-alone call-outs with little connection to the flow of the text. I find disorienting. When do I read these rude interruptions? That is their context? We also find lists, bullet points (the bane of orderly discourse, but the balm of PowerPoint), and font variations. They are more like the children’s books of old.

This is enough to send me screaming to acres and acres of pure, small, hard text: Augustine’s The City of God or any book by Kierkegaard or Dostoevsky or even Being and Nothingness by Sartre! (But Heidegger’s Being and Time…don’t go there, although I own it.) These books require concentration, fixation, and focus. One cannot breeze through them. These works have heft; they must be mastered; they cannot be skimmed. I say: Let books be books!

DG CONTRIBUTOR PROFILE

Author: Douglas Groothuis

Author of Christian Apologetics, Truth Decay, On Jesus, On Pascal, and others. Professor of Philosophy, Denver Seminary since 1993. Head of The Apologetics and Ethics Masters Degree Program and Co-Director of The Gordon Lewis Center for Christian Thought and Culture. Senior Fellow for Apologetics.com.

3 thoughts

  1. I agree Dr. Groothuis. God himself didn’t make his book easy to read with lots of bullet points. He made it packed to the brim and yet so much compacted into a smaller form. By the way, I’m currently halfway through Christian apologetics. I find your book one of the most helpful apologetics books I’ve read to date. It is wise and accessible for sure, but not overly simplified. Take care and see you in the fall.

  2. I know in Journalism we are taught to write one sentence paragraphs and pull quotes for readability. It’s okay that not everyone is a scholar and it’s prideful to scorn other disciplines and dismiss the parts of life that don’t play according to the rules for one field of study.

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