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November 24, 2009


Louis Delair Jr

This is an interesting question, Steve, since I've always believed that reading was a natural doorway to imagination! Any novel I read carries with it images during the course of the reading - influenced, I believe, by prior experience. That is true (again, I believe) whether the subject matter is science fiction and totally new to the reader, or whether it is a re-imagining through reading of stories read to us by parents or babysitters or siblings during childhood. As a middle school student in New Orleans, I checked out from the school library one book each day, roughly 180 pages in length to ensure I could finish it overnight, and returned it the following morning or afternoon. My area of interest was always action military figures, westerns, spy thrillers - all influenced by television series or cinema films I had seen. I believe that what is resident in our memories rises easily to the consciousness during reading because reading strikes a chord of familiarity within us. The science fiction example I mentioned is interesting because our psyche takes us to what we "interpret" the science fiction character, place, action or general genre to be. If we look at Isaac Asimov's works, Gene Roddenberry's or those of Rod Serling, we are reminded of our awe at the first reading of the text or viewing of the TV or film version of a story. Unfortunately, our 3-D visuals often create expectations by us when viewing a film version of a written work. I say unfortunately only because we so often refuse to allow our minds to grow their own creativity, accepting instead the creative genius of others. As children we "create" and "Imagine" freely! I have experienced greater difficulty in allowing my creative fluids to result in the cohesive formation of a "new" concept (other than poetry which I still do fairly well). I seem not to be able to come up with new ideas akin to the creativity I experienced in high school and college. Jack London's books were among those I read as a child and more than once - along with Moby-Dick, Fury, Lassie, the story of Trigger (Roy Rogers) and certainly cartoon characters (Disney or other) in print. They each had an accompanying 3-D mental movie going on, interspersed with passages of dialogue that did not build anything mentally - only understanding of words used and writing style employed.

Anne Maxfield

Hello Steve,
Just wanted to share a quick message with you and didn't know your email address. Earlier today I finished reading "The Little Guide to your Well-Read Life." The points you make in the book are very useful. You underscored your ideas very well by incorporating thoughts and perspectives from other voracious readers.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts -- I will certainly modify my thinking on choosing, reading and reflecting on books.

Trish O'Brien

My heart is broken and I still shed tears throughout the day...my German Shepherd recently died...we sat together, slept together, for fifteen months as he tried to recuperate from surgery gone bad...And at nite...we, tho so close to San Francisco, have wolves (and mountain lions, and foxes) behind us on Mt.Tamalpais...and I have heard the howl...only once, but my heart said it was my beloved Phoenix.

mim harrison

Dear Trish,

I'm so sorry about Phoenix. I'm one of many dog lovers here at Levenger, so we know how difficult this is. The good thing about pets is that they never really leave us--except with wonderful memories.


Trever Anderson

I am a Freshman at North Miami High School and I love your book "White Fang". It is interesting to see how you came up with these amazing books. :)

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