📚 A Surprising — and Magical — History of Reading

Matt Karamazov
10 min readJul 27

One of my absolute favorite “books about books,” from the man who used to read to the blind Jorge Luis Borges

Image: The Reading Life

📚 Hey, good evening!

You can easily judge this book by its cover because it’s exactly what it says it is: a history of reading!

But it’s not THE history of reading, because, as the author Alberto Manguel says, the personal, intimate relationship between the solitary reader and their books can never be generalized to represent the complete “History of Reading.”

There can only be a history of reading, but this is one of the best books you’re ever likely to find on the subject.

Lately, I’ve been loving Why I Read, by Wendy Lesser, and The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, by Alan Jacobs, is one of my favorite books, but you can’t go wrong with Manguel’s book either!

Below, I share a short summary of A History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel, as well as my complete book notes, along with some additional recommended reading.

There are lots of incredible literary surprises to be found in this book, so let’s get into it!

If you love books and you love to read, then you might like…

Image: The Reading Life

Today’s book is called A History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel, and in the summary below, we’ll get into some of the key takeaways, but here’s one of my favorite quotes, which is something that everyone reading this right now has experienced for themselves:

“And yet, all of a sudden, I knew what they were; I heard them in my head, they metamorphosed from black lines and white spaces into a solid, sonorous, meaningful reality.

I had done this all by myself. No one had performed the magic for me. I and the shapes were alone together, revealing ourselves in a silently respectful dialogue. Since I could turn bare lines into living reality, I was all-powerful. I could read.”

To me, the ability to read is one of the closest things to magic that human beings are able to perform.

Matt Karamazov

🥇 The Most Disciplined Man on the Planet 📚 Read 1,197 Books in Just 10 Years 💪🏻 Strong Believer in Human Potential ⤵️ https://thereadinglife.beehiiv.com/