Are books dead?


The above strip may give an idea of what kind of writing I like to do. Exotic, odd, detective and crime, alien invasion, satire, in short whatever is Just Plain Weird. But if one does not read, one can not write. And if one does not read widely and in depth, one can not write with originality or with deep meaning.

The strangest thing I┬áhave ever heard was when I recently overheard someone say “I was so bored I almost read a book.” My response: “This person must be the most boring person alive. He knows nothing at all.”

Failure to read is an illness that is spreading across the US. I heard a radio interview in which the speaker had the audacity to say: “There’s other ways of being smart than reading. As far as reading at any level, people are dependent on their phones, and that thing is going to be reading to you soon. within 15 months no one is going to be reading anymore, just like no one writes cursive anymore. It’s all block printing today. It’s all movies now.”

Where do I start since my head exploded… For one thing, programmers must program the phones, and they have to read to make that happen. As for movies, that is an inferior method of learning, in fact video format actually inhibits learning because it triggers emotions and shuts down contemplation and rationality. Thus our society of “triggered” SJWs who were raised on movies rather than print.

As for print, I write cursive not only in English but in Russian. How can one appreciate novels in Russian, or in other languages, if one only watches movies? There are millions of books in dozens of languages that will never be made into movies or ebooks. They will remain ink on paper until that paper disintegrates in the distant future. That knowledge will then disappear. People who do not read books that (thankfully) will never be made into Hollywood movies are destined to remain victims of Hollywood’s propaganda, unaware of the extent of their ignorance and social conditioning as they wander like zombies looking for something to get triggered about. Failure to read is so widespread that 13 high schools in Baltimore are now graduating their students at a third-grade reading level. And don’t ask about math. That requirement is gone entirely.

I am currently reading about 10 books. I am always reading about 10 books. I listed the current crop in a previous newsletter, so I won’t list them here, tho the list of course has changed as I finish some and begin others. One that I didn’t list is the Quran.

The Quran is very interesting. Not to those who only read English, of course, because I understand that it is quite boring if one tries to read the Quran in that language. But for those who read Arabic and know something about history and Islamic affairs, the Quran is fascinating. In Arabic, it is high poetry and rhythmic liturgy. Traditional Muslims regard it as revealed by God, uncreated, its protected Platonic form existing in the mind of God before the creation of the world.

Yet it has peculiarities. Such as a verse rebuking people who make too much noise near Muhammad’s rooms, or entering without announcing themselves, or well-wishers bothering his wives. One verse condemns to eternal perdition an uncle and his wife who supposedly put obstacles in Muhammad’s path. Other verses seem to be magical incantations such as one might recite for protection in the presence of an evil jinn, or before embarking on a hazardous journey, recitations that perhaps long precede the advent of Islam or the appearance of the Quran.

I am reading the surah entitled al-Fath, or The Opening or The Victory. It was allegedly revealed in 628 A.D. after Muhammad failed in his first attempt to enter Mecca, when he instead concluded the Treaty of Hudaybiyah with the uncooperative Meccans. This surah is interesting because it mentions for the first time (if we believe the standard line on the chronology of the surahs) the Sakinah, the Torah, the Christian Gospel, the name of Muhammad, and the Masjid al-Haram. The Sakinah is translated as “tranquility”, but the Arabic word is similar to the Christian Holy Spirit, suggesting that Allah may have a dual nature. The name Muhammad is rare in the Quran and there is reason to suppose it may be an honorific title not attached to a specific person. The Masjid al-Haram is supposedly the Kaaba, which Muslims today circumambulate. But in ancient times it may have been something quite different, and maybe not located in today’s Mecca, but elsewhere. In fact the entire Quran may have nothing at all to do with today’s Mecca, but may have been composed in Jordan or Syria. I am reading it with this possibility in mind. I cannot say at this time whether the Quran is fiction or revealed truth. But I will report more on this in future newsletters.

That’s all for now. Keep reading! And visit for more info.

Glenn Lazar Roberts