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.