Books are not the only source of information and intelligence these days. If you read the Brain Pickings newsletter, for instance, you could find yourself gradually becoming a polymath.
The Internet, through blogs, newsletters, podcasts, video essays, news sites, and social media microblogging, is an alternative source of mind-expanding, up-to-the-minute information. You could be a ‘reader’ by surging the Web.
Besides, many books start as online posts. Then they’re packed with fluff: needless detail and anecdotes that authors are compelled by their publishers to add so as to give the works more weight.
I remember in secondary school, the teachers would say, “Avoid extraneous materials in your essays,” yet extraneous materials are common in books. How many times have you had to skip pages of a book because the author is just droning on for no reason?
This argument doesn’t mean books are useless, obviously. It’s just that the old expedition into hardbacks, paperbacks, or kindle books to prove that you’re cultured does not any longer confer on anyone any bragging rights.