Irrevocably a reader

Drew and Matt in 1991, very different minds but both irrevocable readers.

Drew and Matt in 1991, very different minds but both irrevocable readers.

“At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book—that string of confused, alien ciphers—shivered into meaning. Words spoke to you, gave up their secrets; at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader.”
Alberto Manguel

It’s never to late to have this magical instant happen in your life.  It doesn’t matter if you were a poor reader in school.  It doesn’t matter if you weren’t the academic star.  It doesn’t matter if your present circumstances are limited.  Reading can soothe or stimulate your mind, feed your imagination and set you free from isolation, boredom and despair.  If you can read these words, you can open the door to visit new universes.  What a magnificent gift; an unparalleled opportunity to grow.  Go for it!

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia!
    You can count me as one irrevocable reader. I don’t read very quickly, but I think that’s so I can absorb better. Maybe I think slowly? Whatever the reason, I am thankful that I can read!

    • I don’t read quickly, either, and I think that’s one reason I remember most of what I read (or at least I used to). I think that most pursuits lose something when we aim for increased speed. That doesn’t mean it’s never a good idea to go faster, but we just need to be aware that it’s always a trade-off.

  2. MaryAnn

    Precious, priceless photo!

    • Thank you, Mary Ann!

  3. Susan

    What a wonderful picture, I just love it, and a great quote! My oldest grandson is now reading on his own and loves a particular book series. With the libraries shut down (bad timing!) I’ve been buying used books inexpensively on Ebay and having them set directly to him. Our libraries here started curbside pickup on Monday and I’m so thrilled.

    • Yes, I wish PWC was doing curbside pick up. I think they are supposed to start it soon. For me personally, the hardest part of the lockdown has been being without libraries. Zoom church has replaced regular church to some extent, so there has been less of a down side there, and of course the libraries have digital offerings, so that’s worth something. But I really miss church and the libraries. I regularly go to four different public libraries so that has been something I’ve always taken for granted and now it’s not there for me. Do you have a Little Free Library anywhere near you? We have one at both my neighborhoods so that is a fun place to get in a “mini-browse” and drop off a book or two that I don’t need anymore.

      • Susan

        One of my friends has a Little Free Library and it is fun to look inside when I’m over there.
        When I called into the library for my second curbside pickup on Thursday I asked the librarian how they’re doing, and she said it’s nice that everyone is so happy and grateful to get their books 🙂 . I do miss the pleasure of walking in and being surrounded by books and people who love books as I do.
        I do miss church so much too, but one of the unexpected blessings has been being able to visit other churches online. I LOVE watching Mass from my childhood church; it’s very comforting, even though I’ve never met the priest in person. I’ve also been able to see some of my favorite priests who are now at different parishes. I hope that even when we are all back in person, our churches will still provide online viewing as a kind of bonus.
        I hope you’ll get both your libraries and church back sometime this summer!

        • The only public library I use regularly that has started curbside pick up is the one in Williamsburg, VA, and they tell me it has kept them very busy. There definitely is still a great demand for non-digital resources, which I find encouraging. As you say, much of the joy of a library visit is in being able to freely browse the stacks and be among like-minded people, even when no conversation takes place. This ability to freely browse library stacks is something not everyone in the world is able to do, so I am mindful of what a blessing it is, and I enjoy it as often as I can.

          Yes, the ability to “attend” distant or former churches is one blessing to come out of the lock down. One thing I have liked about Zoom church meetings is the ability to see everyone’s faces. In the configuration of most churches, all seats face front. BUT admittedly seeing everyone’s face can be distracting too. And virtual hugs will never replace the real thing! 🙂 I do hope that many churches are learning new ways to facilitate online options for people. My sister’s church (in Alabama) will start meeting in person again this weekend, but they are going to attempt to do a hybrid Zoom/real time meeting. I hope it goes well because as you say, it would be a great bonus to be able to access uplifting content online. Yes, let’s hope we get our churches, libraries, and other community strengths back soon– hopefully even better than they were before!

  4. mike c.

    Sequoyah library system is doing curbside pickup now and it is quite a process, as you have to make an appointment during certain hours for the pickup and there is no contact with any library personnel.
    I am reading Barbara Brown Taylor’s “Holy Envy” bases on her experience teaching a world religions course at Demoorest, Piedmont college. Very interesting with lots of good takeaways. About half way through and i don’t read as fast as i once did.

    • This sounds like the process at the Williamsburg (Virginia) library. They stay backed up with requests so I had to wait around for my order and in future I plan to allow at least a 24 hour notice. But I’m grateful to have the service, and also grateful it’s so popular, proving that people STILL love and value print books! I have not heard of that particular title from Taylor, but I have some of her other work, and I really like her writing. So I just put in a request for the audio book of Holy Envy at the public library. Don’t worry about not reading quickly. What one gains in speed, one loses in comprehension and retention. I really believe that and my education and experience have shown me it is so.

  5. mike c.

    One of the t hings she says i like, and there are several, is “There are no religions only religious persons.” This is the first book of her’s i have read. Any other recommendations- Did she also write, “Leaving church.” I may have read that too.

    • I have the book Leaving Church but I can’t remember reading it. The book of hers that I really like is An Altar in the World. In fact, I think the quote in this post (and also this one and this one) may have come from that book.

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