An Age of Knowledge, With No Love for Books?

by on March 8, 2022 · 2 comments

in From the Soul

by Ernie McCray

It’s said that this century is the Age of Knowledge,
but how can that be
with the banning of books
and hints in the air
that we don’t really
love to read?

I ask such a question
as one who needs a good read
as much as my lungs need oxygen to breathe
as much as Count Dracula needs
a victim’s neck to bleed.

Books beckon me to join right in
like I did as a child
when I might find myself
with all the king’s horses
and all the king’s men,
trying to put Humpty Dumpty
back together again.

And that big bad wolf
who asked little pig
to let him come in?
Well, I had to let that dude in
on how that wasn’t going to happen
“by the hair on my chinny chin chin.”
Hell! No!
Not on my watch, my friend.

There was to be no
huffing and puffing
and blowing the house in
if I had a say in the situation.
And later, as I grew older,
books like Richard Wright’s
“Native Son”
became my refuge
from the segregated world
in which I was imprisoned,
unfolding for me on page after page
the multi-sociological and psychological
aspects and effects of racism
I couldn’t have come up with on my own,
and then two novels I was required to read
if I wanted a high school degree,
“Red Badge of Courage”
and “A Tale of Two Cities,”
helped me
wrap my brain around humankind’s
inane and insane
relationship with war throughout time
and gave me a peek at concepts like
“the best of times and the worst of times,”
times much like these present times,
a time where we’re ignoring
the benefits of well told stories
in favor of relying on technology that exists today
that gives us access to endless
knowledge and data
literally at our fingertips.

based on how people
are misusing
the “facts” that come our way,
we more than ever will need
the artistry of exquisitely creative writers
who can paint images in our minds
and hearts
in broad colorful strokes
as to what all this
information gathering means
as a whole
and in parts.

We have to come to recognize that
literature is a life sustaining art,
an art essential to our overall wellbeing,
a path
to our becoming the best we can be as a society.

Put directly, there can be no Age of Knowledge if there’s no love for books.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie Johnson March 10, 2022 at 2:19 am

You always put your finger on how our minds work and how stories, story-telling entertain us, allow us to use our imagination, to dream, to explore, to not be prisoners of only one view. I did not think I would ever see book banning rise to imprison us again. Thank you, Ernie, for reminding us of the power of books, and how frightening being educated is to some.


sealintheselkirks March 10, 2022 at 3:47 pm

This was the age of knowledge. Well, maybe for some people it is still but…in general the US version of the Taliban combined with US Fascists are trying hard for it to morph into a new European Dark Ages circa 1350-1500AD because, you know, life was so much better then! When 200,000 mostly women were burned at the stake for being a ‘witch.’ Here in the US they just hung them…how merciful, eh?

Look up Idaho’s new ‘jail the librarians’ law that passed the State Affairs Committee. Now it’s the GOP lawmakers turn to sign it.

It is Idaho HB 666 (how appropriate is that?). The possible coming future of reading in this country as the Talibangelicals continue their anti-intelligence anti-science extremism.

This law will apply to colleges and universities; even people with libraries in their houses by the way. If one lives in Idaho (which starts about fifty miles east of me) one could be charged if a grandkid borrowed off the shelves the copy of Hunger Games, 1984, Animal Farm, Lies My Teacher Told Me, Zinn’s People’s History of the US, Stone/Kuznick’s The Untold History of the US, The Indigeneous History of the US, Monkeywrench Gang, Silent Spring, Handmaid’s Tale, Diary of a Part-Time Indian, To Kill a Mockingbird, Do It, Brave New World, Sinclair Lewis, Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thompson, London’s The Iron Heel…just to name a few on my shelves! On and on the list will grow. That’s the way this kind of crap spreads. And the kids will get dumber if they don’t find ways to get around the censors. Society will pay dearly in the future.

Here is a link to a pretty good opinion piece/summary of 666:



Leave a Comment

Older Article:

Newer Article: