‘I Don’t Read!’

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Authors (me, for one) really hate to hear this: “I don’t read.” But we hear it all the time, and more and more. Is reading going out of fashion? Are we on our way to following buggy-whip manufacturers into oblivion?

I asked a couple of family members if they’ve read any of my books, and they all said no (with the sole exception of my brother, Mark). It’s not that they just don’t care for fantasy novels. They don’t care for any novels, period.

How could this have come to pass? We have the costliest and most intrusive “education” system in world history. And too many, way too many, only read what they’re required to read for work, or comic books, or nothing at all. It’s not that they’re illiterate. Rather, they are aliterate. They have chosen not to read.

I don’t think I could keep my sanity if I didn’t read. Hey, Edgar Rice Burroughs, wait for me–under the moons of Mars! Imaginative fiction is my bag, but there’s vast forest of literature out there, of all kinds, just ripe for exploration. I read history, too. Catherine the Great read it, just to keep her head on straight. And if you read attentively, Agatha Christie’s detective novels have very much to say about real life.

A good story takes you out of yourself. And then you can shut the book and go back in, all the better for being relaxed and refreshed.

I read several chapters of the Bible every day: not for relaxation, but survival. I read classics to grow my understanding. And I read fiction to take a break from nooze. I simply can’t imagine a life without books.

I pray for literacy to make a comeback.

10 comments on “‘I Don’t Read!’

  1. That is weird. I can’t believe people would stop reading. I started reading at age 2 or so, and it has been my favorite thing ever since. Without books, I would dry up and blow away.

  2. There are plenty of people who are illiterate, but I never been able to understand people who can read, but don’t. It often runs in families and some wear it as a badge. They refuse to discover what they’re missing. Many fill their free time with movies, video games, social media, etc.

  3. I think reading is the best way to learn. It engages the mind whereas just watching videos becomes very passive. Lee Duigan’s books turned me on to fantasy novels that usually I never read. Those Edgar Rice Burroughs stories are a wild ride. I have read many of Terry Kay’s books. But with my current calling to local politics I am back to absorbing non-fiction material.

  4. I remember attending a leadership seminar, many years ago. One of the things the speaker mentioned is that most people have never read another book once they got out of high school, and would only read what they had to if their jobs required it. Being forced to read books they hated in high school left them never wanting to read books again.

    For me, I’m having increasing difficulty reading printed pages. Partly because of eye strain as I get older, but I also find I have a hard time focusing, and end up thinking about all the things that need to be done, instead. It’s a bit easier to read on my computer (with my nice, big monitor), but not by much. I find myself using the audio function on a lot of things, if it’s available, much more often.

    1. It is true, though, that “reading” in high school can sour you on reading, period. It didn’t do that to me because I was already reading enthusiastically long before high school. The stuff I was required to read… fooey!

    2. I’m of two kinds about this. I didn’t appreciate the great works of literature when I was younger, but from today’s perspective, I can see that appreciation for this literature was, in and of itself, of great educational value. We could use for people these days to have more perspective and some of these historical works really seem to add perspective.

  5. I don’t read.” I hear that all the time over here. I have read thousands of books. I liked Michael Crichton’s book “State of Fear.” I found a hardcover edition in a used bookstore here in the Philippines for about two dollars and a paperback copy of his “The Lost World” for less than two dollars. I read “Jurassic Park” before the movie came out. I think the book was better.

    At the used bookstore I also found a book every Christian should read. “The Martyr’s Oath” by Johnnie Moore. It is a solemn, intense, and fervent oath those who graduate from a certain Bible school in India take. Where keeping that oath may mean they lose their life.

    I’m with you. “I don’t think I could keep my sanity if I didn’t read.”

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