The Reader

There’s only one way to live in the world —and that’s to stay alert, interested.

So I couldn’t help but notice the reader in the pub sitting at ‘our table’, vigorously engaged in his book. He was dipping into it with his biro, busily marking passages, totally oblivious to his surroundings, And he never had a drink in front of him.

I went over to him.

Hello, I said, I’m a fellow reader. I just have to ask what book it is that’s got you so enthralled?

Ah, he said. Let me allay your curiosity.

And then he showed me.

Christ, I said, it’s a bit crumpled. Like it’s fallen in water.

It’s a well worn book, helaughed. And Christ is right. Look at the title.

I did but I could barely read it. Can I take a shot? I say, to show my mate in the wheelchair.

Of course, he said.

Is it fiction? I asked.

No, it’s factual,well researched, about the devilish goings on in the Papacy and in the clergy in general. Terrible things went on. When my friends bring up religion I whip out my book and quote passages from it.

But it’s condition?

Ahh, he said, I read it in the bath and sometimes it’s fallen in. And sometimes it’s been left in the rain and I have read it a few times. It’s an old book. It was battered when I bought it. Would you like to borrow it when I finish?

Awfully nice of you, I said, but I might give it a miss. Too much else on my plate. Are you by any chance an old Catholic boy?

Yes, he said. How did you know?

It takes one to know one, I said. Happy reading.

14 thoughts on “The Reader

  1. This is a lovely little piece about a great number of big things. I’m not a former Catholic, I’m more a former Agnostic, turned Atheist, but religions and people who follow them, or used to do so, are interesting to me, for a number of different reasons.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I took the photo without the fellow being aware but the picture of the book I got his permission for; He was a charming fellow who left after we chatted for some time; it is indeed the table from which we people watch 🙂


  2. i love everything about the encounter, including the story of the book itself, the book within, the thoughts, and conversation. readers of all kinds are a special breed. have you ever seen the movie, ‘the reader’ by the way?

    Liked by 1 person

    • thank you, Beth [I have been away for a few days] that is a lovely comment; I have seen the movie and have read the book; this particular reader I would ca;ll ‘an active reader’ in the same way a gunman on the rampage is referred to as an ‘active shooter’ 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think, the problem with all religions are common…they do not allow questions, the ultimate power to whoever is running it, but are run by humans, and human is to err. Absolute power leads to absolute human errors. The lack of transparency and answerability can do that any system, whether it is religion or politics, or both. Let’s just remember, that religions are not wrong. They are just run by humans.

    Liked by 1 person

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