Avi WordCraft blog

It’s all reading

reading BrailleIn my last posting, I wrote about how my three-year-old sees writing, and how he tried to replicate it.  In so doing, I was reminded of other ways of reading.

Some years ago I heard an interview of a man (shame on me for not remembering his name). He was talking about his father, an imminent scholar, a man who had a very great love of books, and in particular, a love of the books he had collected, and which he kept in his own library.

His father—in old age—became blind. Unable to read, he would often be discovered in his library walking in such a way that he could pass his fingers over the volumes he had so loved to read.  When he came to a particular favorite book, he would pause, and with his hand on the book’s spine, stand there for a long time, remembering the contents of the book.

Another image, a photograph. It was a photo of a boy who had lost both his arms in a war. He had also lost his sight. Nevertheless, he was reading. How was he reading? He was leaning over a Braille book, reading it by touching the dots with his tongue.

The Roman philosopher Horace wrote, “A house without books is like a body without a soul.”  To which might be added the amendment: for reading is the way a soul sees the world.

1 thought on “It’s all reading”

  1. Your post today reminded me of the intimate relationship some of us have with our books and bookshelves. My life is reflected in the rows and rows of books on my shelves. I could probably identify some long-time favorites by touch and by weight. Some have not moved from their locations for many years. There’s a warm comfort in that: when I get too caught up in current life, I like to take a break, pull an old friend from the shelf, and remember.

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