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Jan 10, 2007

A History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel

History_of_reading In every literate society, learning to read is something of an initiation... In medieval Jewish society, for instance, the ritual of learning to read was explicitly celebrated.  On the Feast of Shavuot, when Moses received the Torah from the hands of God, the boy about to be initiated was wrapped in a prayer shawl and taken by his father to the teacher.  The teacher sat the boy on his lap and showed him a slate on which were written the Hebrew alphabet, a passage from the Scriptures and the words "May the Torah be your occupation."  Then the slate was covered with honey and the child licked it, thereby bodily assimilating the holy words.  Also, biblical verses were written on peeled hard-boiled eggs and honey cakes, which the child would eat after reading the verses out loud to the teacher.

-- from A History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel, 1996, Penguin Books.

This is one of several dozen books that I've owned for many years but never managed to read.  From my little dips here and there, I can tell you that it is a wonderful book.  A beautiful book with many pictures.  A well-regarded book and, it seems, for good reason.  I typed the above excerpt in part so that I would feel less badly that I am about to give the book away.  And in part because I'd like to give the book away.  To a reader.  To the first local reader to call dibs via the comment link, below.

08:40 PM in Quotables, Reviews | Permalink


Dang, I wish I was still local!

Posted by: Alicia | Jan 11, 2007 9:32:13 AM

I'm local (Durham) ... and I'm calling dibs.
What do I do to get my free book? :D

Posted by: Lisa | Jan 11, 2007 5:35:24 PM

Lisa -- step one in getting your free book is to tell me how to get into contact with you! Is this Lisa L.? Lisa R.? Lisa somebody else or a different L. or R.?

Email me at archerpelican1@yahoo.com and all will move forward.

Posted by: Phil | Jan 11, 2007 7:54:54 PM

Now that I've moved, I'll take just about any potential new reading material for myself and the library.

BTW Phil, thanks again for helping me move. Did the washer get installed?

Posted by: Joseph H. Vilas | Jan 12, 2007 12:33:17 PM