So you can read my books

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


When I was an English teacher, I taught an entire week each year from THE WALKING DRUM

Out of my own pocket, I bought 30 paperback copies of the book that stayed in class.  

The three branches of the public library got to buying extra copies of the book for my students who hungered to know what happened next.

It is set in 12th century Europe and the Middle East.  

The protagonist is Mathurin Kerbouchard of Brittany. 

 In the course of the story he travels from place to place, ultimately in search of his missing father. 

Along the way, he finds himself in the roles of slave, pirate, scholar, physician, merchant, alchemist and yet always a student.

 Kerbouchard is a romantic seeker of knowledge and fortune on a challenging journey, full of danger, excitement, adventure and revenge.

In fact, it is his learning that again and again saves him when a sword would have done little good.
Along his long journey the main character is thrust 

into the heart of the treacheries, passions, violence and dazzling wonders of a magnificent time.

The book is named for a merchant caravan's marching drum, first described in chapter 36: 

We often sang as we marched, and there was always the sound of the walking drum, a sound I shall hear all my life, so deeply is it embedded in the fibers of my being.

The book is a tribute to the value of life-long learning.

Why do I mention it now?


The half-life of a career is now about 10 years. It will decrease, within a decade, to five years. 

Advancing technologies will cause so much disruption to almost every industry that entire professions will disappear. 

Some experts, too entrenched in ivory towers, envision a jobless future 

where machines do the work and even driving will become a lost skill due to self-driving vehicles.

For a small rich elite, society may become that.

But for most of our citizens, our country may become a grim dark age 

of mostly have-not's where the jobless majority struggle to survive on hungry, hostile streets.

Only those who learn as much as they can in as many fields as they can will stand a chance to improvise a life that adapts to ever-changing conditions.

What do experts say are the most probable trends in computers?  Is it possible to train yourself for them?

Technology is now as important a skill as are reading, writing, and mathematics.  

Kids in Silicon Valley who can write code have an edge in starting technology companies. Still design and the soft sciences will gain increasing importance.

Yet, if another Carrington Event happened, 

and the United States found itself without any transformers, hence working electricity for months, 

do you know what the first things to do would be?

Could you generate your own electricity with a small windmill, or do it by attaching a bicycle to a generator?

How about astronomy?  Could you tell direction just by the stars?

Could you take suspect water and make it into something drinkable?

Can you make a fire without matches?

Do you know the basics of first aid?

Do you know the basic requirements for the human body?  How long can a human go without food, without water?

Do you know simple mechanics, the workings of simple levers and pulleys?

What about the basics of electricity, of ham radios, of mob psychology?

An interesting book is 

SEAL Survival Guide: A Navy SEAL's Secrets to Surviving Any Disaster

How often have you heard from recent news reports: “We never thought it would happen to us.” 

From random shootings to deadly wildfires to terrorist attacks, 

the reality is that modern life is unpredictable and dangerous. 

Don’t live in fear or rely on luck -- rely on your own educated mind and strength of will.

Just a thought for you to consider.  :-)


  1. Some pretty intense thoughts to consider,
    Looking back on my life, I can say I should have not worried as much and had more faith. That is easy to say after you have been through the fire and no longer in it.
    I worry about politic's affect on future generations. We do seem to have people compacently agreeing to living close to poverty while some are fabulously wealthy because they earned it. Ignorance has a terrible price.
    I did not know Louis L'Amour wrote more than cowboy books.I'll have to read one.

    1. Like you, Ann, I've found the troubles I feared were not as harsh as I dreaded. Politics has become devoid of friendship as former Senator Dole has recently said -- he came from the generation of WWII who felt country came before politics.

      THE WALKING DRUM is a swashbuckler that sings the praise of learning. An unusual combo! :-)

  2. Hi Roland - could be so true ... and I could do a few of those things ... but I suspect that many younger couldn't do any of them: let alone would have considered what would happen in the circumstances you describe, or not so bad - which would be bad enough. Who could grow sufficient food ... and more, as well as all those things you describe ...

    I didn't know about Louis L'Amour's other works either .. I'll get one out of the library to look at ... his approach to learning looks a good teaching tool - cheers Hilary

    1. I fear that Man has become like the dinosaurs, thinking that his reign will never end -- but reigns always do.

      The Industrial Revolution played havoc with the lives of so many helpless to adapt. Now, the revolutions are coming faster and faster with less time to recover from the impacts.

  3. Hi Roland - I went by the Library and ordered a copy ... I'll get it by next week - then I can see what you're on about! Cheers Hilary

    1. Why that is wonderful that you think so much of my recommendation.

      THE WALKING DRUM is much like the swashbucklers of the '50's with the added lesson of the importance of learning. I hope you enjoy it. :-)

  4. This is how I have always viewed life, the need to know the basics is more important than relying on someone else or 'something' else to do it for me. I always think 'what if' and 'could I do this?' Knowing what to do in an emergency is vital. Learning is a lifelong task, and adapting is more useful than not. (I've moved, and I keep telling myself that order will come, but I have to make it. . .)

    1. It takes so long to recover from a move. I still have things in boxes from when I moved to this apartment years ago!!

      And learning how to be self-reliant is the best thing we can do for ourselves in these scary times.

  5. If I'm allowed to Google it.
    Just kidding!
    I could manage most of that, but not all.
    Sure, automation will take some jobs, but people still have to build and repair those machines.

    1. LOL.

      Yes, but some envision machines repairing other machines. Ouch!

  6. The Walking Drum sounds pretty good. I'll have to check it out!
    I'm slowly teaching myself all those survival skills. We're the weird couple with bug out bags and exit plans. So yeah, haha

    1. I have THE WALKING DRUM on audio and listen to it periodically. I think you will like it. :-)

      Those Bug-Out Bags are expensive to put together. I''m just putting mine together. Hide it in plain sight and do not draw attention to it -- others might notice and steal it should things get hairy! And a Bug-Out Vehicle is essential too -- and two good pairs of hiking boots (like my mother used to say about my suit hankerchief -- one for show, one for blow!) :-)

  7. As self-reliant as I am, I have no clue how to do any of those things - short of maybe some basic first aid. I had an earthquake stash and emergency supplies in my car years ago. I should restock.

    On a different note, thanks for your sweet support regarding Woman on the Verge of Paradise. =)

    1. I fear the time is soon coming when each of us will have to more self-reliant than is comfortable. :-(

      I pray WOMAN ON THE VERGE soars in sales! Come Thursday, you will have one more sale: mine. :-)