CFR Podcast Roundtable: Why We Need Books

What can a book offer that other art forms don't?

Today on The Scene I’m hosting a CFR roundtable with our writers to look at how people in the performing arts also feel about another important medium—books. While we may be used to working with more visual forms of storytelling, books still play a huge role in our lives, and reading is an essential part of how we learn about and experience the world. But what is special about reading when there are so many other ways to consume content these days? What does it mean that our society increasingly makes lifestyle distinctions between “readers” and “nonreaders”? And what does it mean for our future now that we have a president who is not a “reader”? Are books optional, or are they something to which everyone needs regular exposure?

For our panel I’m joined by the CFR’s founder and Executive Editor Leonard Jacobs, along with writer and literary manager Mark Dundas Wood, who writes our column Literary Type, and dancer and Fulbright Scholar Shawn Lent, who writes our column Global Spitfire. While they may have different literary tastes, and different preferences toward digital or physical libraries, all are avid readers with plenty to say on the subject. And after the conversation, we want to hear from you, too! Feel free to reach out to me at or on Twitter @_SeanDouglass_ to give me your thoughts on what you’re reading and what expectations we should have for the average person’s reading habits.

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