This post will deal with dangerous books for teens.
“Our teen read an entire book!” the woman screamed as she jumped up and down, tears running in black mascara streams down her glowing cheeks. Her family surrounded her in a group hug as they all jumped up and down together. To celebrate the momentous occasion, Dad took the entire family out for pizza.
While everyone slurped down their cheesy slices, one of the other children asked the obvious question, “But what did he read?”
“Shhhh,” Mom said as she clapped her hand over the inquiring sibling’s mouth,”we don’t want to break the spell! What does it matter as long as he actually read something?”
DOES it matter?
When it comes to reading, will any old book do, or should we be concerned about the content as well as the accomplishment?
If history is any indication, WHAT a young person reads is of utmost importance. There are numerous accounts of people who were either made or destroyed by a book they read as a teen.
Consider this quote from William Makepeace Thayer in Ethics of Success:
READING may be a blessing or it may be a curse. It depends upon what is read, and how it is read. That many persons are not improved by their reading is universally conceded. Many people claim that they do not read for improvement, they read for amusement; and so they read trashy stories that never ought to be tolerated among thoughtful men and women. Dime novels, and what are called “Blood and Thunder Stories,” are the only books that many persons, old and young, ever read. Their time over them is worse than wasted. Many a boy has been led into vice and crime by such stories.
There is but one safe rule about reading,— read only good books. Life is too short for any reading but the best. We have no time to waste even on doubtful books. There is a large class of books and story-papers that may not be necessary evils, but they are devoid of an uplifting influence, and there is no time in our human life to read such volumes. We have not time enough to read a quarter part of the best books there are; and surely it cannot be wise to spend any portion of it in reading the worst. A careful selection of the most valuable books and journals should be made, with the advice of those more familiar with them than ourselves, in order that reading may prove a blessing.
Reading good books and journals promotes thinking; and this is one of the highest objects to be attained. It is what we should read for. But reading for amusement alone does not awaken thought. The average story has not the least tendency to beget thinking. The novel-reader is not a thinker; he is the last person to expect such an acquisition. Even the best works of fiction, to which we do not object, do not set the mind to thinking as historical and biographical works do, or travels and choice. literature. This fact, when we consider the little time one has for reading, ought to settle the question once for all as to what shall be read. Read only the best books.
There is companionship in books, and, if they are good, their society is improving, as the society of living associates is. It is not necessary to have many of them; a few may secure the desired object more surely than many. The great thinkers of the world, like Homer, Newton, Spenser, Bowditch, and Webster read few books, but they were valuable, and they were read carefully. Better read one book thoroughly than ten superficially. The boy or girl who reads a single book so attentively as to appropriate its counsels, is more benefited thereby than the boy or girl who reads ten similar books superficially. Hence, it is a good practice for young people to write in a blank book the striking thoughts, incidents, and illustrations they meet with in their reading. The practice will cultivate attention, application, observation, and a whole train of good. habits.
If you are interested in finding out just what a “dangerous book” is, make sure and watch this video I recently recorded on the subject: