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So many channels, so little worth watching! Do you sometimes find yourself muttering those words? Next week is TV Turnoff Week so give that TV a well-deserved rest, and instead say: So many books worth reading, so little time!

People in the US watch TV for more than four hours a day. That's equivalent to sitting in front of a TV for two full months nonstop every year. It's not for nothing that TV has been called the plug-in drug, the boob tube, and the idiot box. For more, see this and this.

It's time to redefine television, from Greek tele- (far) + Latin vision- (view), as something that deserved to be seen far, far away. Instead, get closer to books. Cut your screen time and increase your page time. This week we'll explore a few words from the world of books.

belles-lettres (bel-LET-ruh) noun

Literary works valued for their aesthetic qualities rather than information or instruction.

[From French belles (fine) + lettres (letters, literature).]

"Unlike official or traditional poetry, the poetry of survival is not made up of consolations but of solutions. Unlike our belles-lettres, this book is fact-dependent, not word-dependent."
Miroslav Holub; The Invaders; Virus X: Tracking the New Killer Plagues; Los Angeles Times; Feb 2, 1997.

See more usage examples of belles-lettres in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.


The question why there is evil in existence is the same as why there is imperfection... But this is the real question we ought to ask: Is this imperfection the final truth, is evil absolute and ultimate? -Rabindranath Tagore, poet, philosopher, author, songwriter, painter, educator, composer, Nobel laureate (1861-1941)

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