Magic Moments in Reading

Manguel QuoteYou know those moments. You are reading and the magic happens. It could be an exquisite description, an evocative scene, an insight that makes sense of the perplexing, an unexpected but thrilling plot turn, or a satisfying resolution. They are the moments that make reading special. Here are some of mine:

  1. Aslan’s romp with the children when he comes back from the dead in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
  2. The arrival of the hobbits at Rivendell in The Lord of the Rings. Not the end of the journey but a truly “homely home”.
  3. The banquet scene in Babette’s Feast when hearts thaw and the good, the beautiful and the true are glimpsed over a magnificent meal.
  4. The radio broadcasts on science in All The Light We Cannot See for the sense of wonder they evoke.
  5. William Manchester’s magnificent description of Winston Churchill’s moral and political courage in The Last Lion, and particularly how he resolutely spoke against the Nazi threat when everyone else wanted to appease Hitler.
  6. The wonderful reconciliation between Jarvis and Kumalo in Cry the Beloved Country.
  7. The scene in My Name is Asher Lev, in which Asher and the Jews are dancing with Torah at Simchat Torah and he asks his Catholic friend if they love scripture as his people love scripture.
  8. Hannah Coulter for its exploration of how one can look back on one’s life in a place, and begin to make sense of what in the moment was baffling.
  9. Susan Cain’s wonderfully clarifying insights in Quiet of how introversion is not a problem but a gift.
  10. The moment I realized in the opening pages of The Institutes that I was encountering in John Calvin a truly fine mind who could write with clarity and depth about the love and glory of God.

I suspect not all of you would agree with this last, but there you have it, there are no two of us readers alike! And thankfully, we do not have to agree. In fact, part of the delight in getting bibliophiles together is discovering delights we’ve never encountered. There is also the delight of “you, too?” when we discover shared magic moments.

While I can’t gather you all in my living room, it would be delightful to use this “social” media to share some of our “magic moments” in reading. I’d love to hear what were some of your magic moments in reading that have contributed to your love of books and appreciation of life.

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