If you wish to become weak-headed,
unstable, and good for nothing

(Harvey Newcomb, "The Young Lady's Guide to the
Harmonious Development of Christian Character
" 1843)

Novel reading produces a morbid appetite for mental
excitement. The object of the novelist generally is, to
produce the highest possible degree of excitement,
both of the mind and the passions. The effect is very
similar to that of intoxicating liquors on the body.
Hence the confirmed novel reader becomes a kind
of literary inebriate
, to whom the things of eternity
have no attractions, and whose thirst cannot be slaked,
even with the water of life.

Novel reading is a great waste of time. Few will pretend
that they read novels with any higher end in view than
mere amusement. If anything valuable is to be derived
from them, it may be obtained with far less expense of
time, and with safety to the morals, from other sources.
No Christian, who feels the obligation of "redeeming the
time because the days are evil," will fail to feel the force
of this remark. We have no more right to squander our
time and waste our energies in frivolous pursuits--than
we have to waste our money in extravagant expenditures!
We are as much the stewards of God in respect to the
one as the other. How dangerous thus to parley with

If you wish to become weak-headed, unstable,
and good for nothing
--read novels!

Mr. Hall comments--"If we would divide the novels of the
present day into a thousand parts; five hundred of these
parts must be at once condemned as so contemptibly
as to render the perusal of them a most
criminal waste of time!

Four hundred and ninety-nine of the remaining five
hundred parts are positively corrupting in their influence.
They are as full of representations which can have no other
tendency than to mislead, corrupt, and destroy--those who
habitually peruse them.

Perhaps highest merit than that can be attributed to novels,
by some, is that they are 'innocent and amusing compositions.'
This merit, small as it is, is greater than can be conceded. All
books are not innocent which may be exempt from the charge
of disseminating secularism and licentiousness. If they . . .
  convey false impressions of life,
  excite a distaste for its duties, and
  divert the mind from real life to fantasies,
they are decidedly pernicious. This, to a greater or less
extent, is the effect of all novels. Every discerning reader
knows this to be the fact."

Hannah More comments--"Novels, however free from
evil in their more gross and palpable shapes, yet, from
their very nature and constitution, they diminish sober
mindedness. At best, they feed habits of improper
indulgence, while nourishing a vain and visionary
indolence, which lays the mind open to error, and
the heart to seduction!"