If given the choice of books or the internet I would choose books with no hesitation. (No, kindle or e-books aren't books.) The internet could be taken away and I'd barely feel it compared to no books, which I liken to being in prison.
My father used to give us books for Christmas and I probably groaned and tried to hide the disappointment although my sister may have welcomed them gladly.
I pity those who don't read books, who don't even know what they're missing, who don't know the joy of lying back in bed, couch, or hammock absorbed in a good tale. Of all the art forms I respect novelists the most (movie directors probably a close second) as they can make me feel emotions about something which didn't even happen a hundred years ago, or whenever the setting is.
Most of my peers read almost exclusively non-fiction and I probably should pity them too, although they learn more than I do with my escapist novels--as long as I have a good book to read I'm not bored. Once a non-reader (she watched the same Youtube music video 1000 times) told me I need to get out there and live life instead of holing up with a good book and she has a point.
When my father died my sister wanted me to box up his books and ship them west. It was many boxes as he had been a well-read English professor and they moldered away in a falling-apart shed for years until they were moved into a cluttered back room. Last month the room was finally cleared out, twenty-two years after his death, and I volunteered to haul to the dump the final load of hoarded stuff to make way for a bathroom project. Included were the last bags of books, musty and abused by bugs and rodents.
“You can have any of these,” my sister said as I loaded them into my bulging truck. “I took one.”
At the dump I threw out everything, including the last bags of books but I did grab one random one just as my sister had done and it's still rattling around in the truck cab although I don't remember the title.
(A week after writing the essay above I went out to the truck to see what the name of the book was to complete this narrative and found that it was a compilation of golf stories from the magazine “Golf Digest” called Fun In The Rough. As I looked in the table of contents I was surprised to find my father's name as author of one of the stories, a humorous imagining of golf's origins centuries ago. Of the hundreds of his books we tossed, the one I saved was the only one which mattered.)