If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Friday, June 14, 2019

The Dangers of Reading by Warren Bull

The Dangers of Reading by Warren Bull

image from Martin Adams on Upslash

In my last post, I argued that writing is dangerous to authors. However, I neglected to warn about the malignant effects of reading.

In 1864 the warnings below were published in a New York religious tract entitled, “A Pastor's Jottings; or, Striking Scenes during a Ministry of Thirty-Five Years.” It was printed anonymously according to the introduction because the author "could thus write with more freedom." That same introduction assures readers that "the statements of this volume are all literally true." Here is more information about the book. https://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-moral-dangers-of-reading-novels-in-1864.158807/

In fact, novels are at the top of the list of the many things (this religious tract is nearly 350 pages long) that distress this unknown pastor. He writes, "The minds of novel readers are intoxicated, their rest is broken, their health shattered, and their prospect of usefulness blighted."  

Even novels by Charles Dickens are suspect, and he quotes the 19th century educator Dr. Thomas Arnold of Rugby School fame to prove it:

"Childishness in boys even of good ability seems to be a growing fault; and I do not know what to ascribe it, except to the great number of exciting books of amusement, like Pickwick, Nickleby, Bentley's Magazine, etc...that leave [a boy] totally palled, not only for his regular work, but for literature of all sorts."

The pastor says women suffer even more than children or men:

"Listen to the evidence given by a physician in Massachusetts: 'I have seen a young lady with her table loaded with volumes of fictitious trash, poring day after day and night after night over highly wrought scenes and skillfully portrayed pictures of romance, until her cheeks grew pale, her eyes became wild and restless, and her mind wandered and was lost – the light of intelligence passed behind a cloud, and her soul was forever benighted. She was insane, incurably insane from reading novels."

"Not very long since, a double suicide was committed...by a young married couple from Ohio, who were clearly proved to be led to ruin and death by these most pernicious books.... some of our own large cities, have given mournful evidence of the results of some of these novels when dramatized and performed on the stage, as leading to burglaries and murder."

Further evidence:
A list compiled from the logbook of West Virginia Hospital for the Insane, documenting admissions to that institution between 1864 and 1889 included reading novels. The list has been archived by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History.
Even Neil Gaiman has written an essay “Why Books are Dangerous” in which he shares his harrowing experiences as a reader.
I hereby apologize for my failure to extend the warning. Beware of the activity of reading.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Oh Warren. Thanks for the reminder!

KM Rockwood said...

Oh, my. I fear my mental health, indeed my entire future, is in danger.

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