So you can read my books

Monday, June 10, 2013


D.G. Hudson
has just written a review post on
The Words Crafter has done
an excellent review on
the Audible Edition of the book!
Now back to our regularly scheduled post:


Americans of every age are reading less and less for pleasure these days.

The decline could have grim consequences as people tune out books, tune in popular culture and become less socially and civically engaged.

It's fairly obvious why teenagers today aren't devoting more time toward reading:

 There are simply more and cooler ways to distract oneself than in the previous generations.

How many teenagers today don't have both a cell-phone and an i-pod?

 Very few.

When faced with the decision of whether to read a novel or watch television, a majority of teens today are going to choose television.

After many years of a childhood that didn't have interactions with books on their own,

they are forced to read the school’s regardless of the topic and develop a negative attitude toward them.

This hatred of books lasts into teenage years and leads many to never read again.

The future built by the current teenage generation will be one where books and reading
as well as knowledge and reasoning becoming less important if they continue their ignorance toward literacy.

This scares me and causes me to think that indeed there will be a plateau of human intellect if not a decline with few advances in all subjects.

In a dangerous world filled with stress, the key to survival is memory.

So says the author of The Executioners (later known as "Cape Fear"), John D. MacDonald.

In his last published work before he died in 1986,

MacDonald set out to inspire us with Reading for Survival.

Reading for Survival.doc

This thirty-one page essay was published in 1987 by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

It was also sponsored by the Florida Center for the Book in Fort Lauderdale.


The essay takes the form of a series of conversations between his fictitious protagonist, Travis McGee,

and his friend known only as "Meyer", an economist, teacher and lecturer.

Meyer guides us through his version of the evolution of communication beginning with our earliest ancestors' dependency on memory in order to live in the wilderness,

recognize signs of nature and the animal kingdom, and then share that knowledge with future generations.

Meyer asks, "Can one examine his own life without reference to the realities in which he lives?"

What about the non-reader, the person who wants to believe that just because he isn't well informed there is no harm?

He's the one "born every minute"

that signs up for that variable interest loan with

a dubious lender.

MacDonald warns us of the teacher who promotes himself as the translator. Beware the translator who interprets the information for you.

Think for yourself, he suggests.  And to do that you must read, must be informed.

He warns of the terrible isolation of the nonreader:

 his life without meaning or substance because he cannot comprehend the world in which he lives

Education, literacy, reading, thinking and remembering

are MacDonald's prescription for enduring.

He leaves us with a warning from Mark Twain,

"The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."


          “Sorry,” Meyer said. “I was just…”

          “I know. Thinking.”

          He took another swallow. He walked over and sat by the coffee table and put his drink near the lantern.

          “Strange thing about an idea,” he said.
“You can never tell whether it is composed of relationships you should have seen before. Most ideas are merely structures—

things built on bits of knowledge and insight you already possess.
 If the knowledge you possess is in
 error, the structure will be flawed.”

          I sat across from him. “What’s this one about?

          “Maybe the stress of survival.”

          “I’ve been stressed now and then .”

          “I am thinking of the long range. And if Man actually has a long range remaining to him.”


  1. I'm struggling to find a way to pique my 10 year old grandson's interest in reading. He says it is boring but he will let me read to him! He would rather play a computer game.

  2. Beware the translator - smart advice.
    Kids do have too many distractions now. We only had television, and while I did my fair share of television programs, I also read all the time.

  3. Right on, as always. We do have these modern marvels of technology in our home, but limit their use to half an hour a day. And we read every night. So far, my five year old is hooked on books and keeps asking for new ones. I will work on keeping the momentum going!

  4. I've always liked to read, mainly because my parents always read to me when I was younger, thus making me interested in reading.

  5. Sally:
    Since he lets you read to him, perhaps audio books will whet his appetite for reading?

    KIM by Kipling has a great audible edition that snatches you right up into an exotic world of danger and intrigue lived by a young orphan (who is the inspiration for Victor Standish by the way!)

    If you are a member of Audible, it costs you only $2.99 instead of $29! How cool is that? The narrator is excellent.

    You can try the 30 day free trial of Audible and if you cancel before the month, you will owe nothing.

    Like many a sickly child, books provided worlds of exciting adventure for me in my bed of illness. The habit of reading for fun has stayed with me. But few now are like you and me.

    Good for you! By starting at the age of five, your child will keep a love for books. Audible books can lure your children into reading for fun through their iPods, too.

    I have a fear that few parents (besides authors) read to their children anymore. Sigh.

  6. It is often referenced that the best way to rule the world is with distractions-
    and the best way to rule the many is to keep the knowledge in a book.