Review: Reverting to Type: a Reader’s Story

Reverting to Type: a Reader's StoryReverting to Type: a Reader’s Story by Alan Jacobs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I just really like Jacobs, and I read most of what he writes in print and online. I found it really enjoyable while rocking my newborn in the wee hours to hear Jacobs provide an autobiographical addendum to his great little book, The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction. He justifies reading-for-pleasure-based-on-your-current-whim via his own interesting story.

A characteristic quote:

In many respects, going back to the kinds of books I used to read has also meant going back to the kinds of reading habits I used to have. Just as there was a point in my life when I had to remind myself to grab that pencil, the time eventually came when I had to remind myself to leave it where it was and grasp the book (or the Kindle) inœ my two otherwise empty hands. The object now was not to prepare for class or develop a scholarly argument, but rather to become lost in a book, as I once was often; to be self-forgetful for a while. Indeed, I wonder whether it’s significant that my reversion to type started happening smack in the middle of middle age, in a period of life when the world is almost always too much with us, when time alone is is rare and, let’s face it, rarely seized — especially by people with smartphones.

Here’s another:

I have seen the great value of heeding my whims and allowing myself to read beyond my professional demands and even my long-established sense of self. My reversion to type has been above all else interesting, and has given me an increasingly broad (and I think more accurate) sense of what reading is, or can be, for.

Mark Ward

PhD in NT; theological writer for Faithlife; former high school Bible textbook author for BJU Press; husband; father; ultimate frisbee player; member of the body of Christ.

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