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

July Interview Schedule:
7/3 Jean Stone A Vineyard Summer
7/10 Mark Bergin
7/17 Christin Brecher Murder's No Votive Confidence
7/24 Dianne Freeman A Ladies' Guide to Gossip
7/31 J. C. Kenney A Genuine Fix

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 7/6 V. M. Burns, 7/13 Joe Amiel,

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 7/20 Gloria Alden, 7/27 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.


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.