Real Men Read…


My grandfather, Hanlan Vernon, was a heck of a man. He worked the CNR Railroad for forty years. Could fix nearly anything that was broken. Smoked Export A cigarettes – the kind with the pretty little Scottish highland dancer on the package. He liked a drink of rye and ginger at night – just one – mixed with 7-Up. He kept the lawn mowed and the car running.

And he read.

My grandfather loved reading. He kept a stack of books at his bedside. Tough guy literature – Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer series. Richard S. Prather’s Shell Scott series. Donald Hamilton’s Matt Helm series. John D. MacDonald’s Travis Magee series. If a book wasn’t handy he’d read the newspaper. If the newspaper wasn’t recent he’d read the funny papers.

Growing up – watching that man read – did more for instilling a deep-rooted passion for turning pages than any teacher or literacy program or librarian that I know of.

No offence intended to any teacher, librarian or literacy program that might actually be reading this blog entry.

yours in storytelling,

Steve Vernon

4 responses to “Real Men Read…

  1. I totally agree. Kids with family who read are usually much more likely to enjoy reading. it really helps for them to have that behavior modeled. As a kid, I used to curl up with my mom and siblings, and we’d each take a turn reading a page from a book. That did more for my literacy than any teacher ever did.

    And I never understood this idea that ‘guys don’t read’. Says who? Why? So Dickens and Hemingway and Conan Doyle and Conrad didn’t read? Give me a break.


  2. So true. I grew up in a house with a father who actually read text books for fun! It’s the #1 reason I’m a huge reader today and also the reason I became a writer. MY debt to him is enormous.


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