What life is there other than the life of the mind? “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That statement finds worth not in the life but in the examination: the discipline of analysis and practice of discernment directed at the experience of self. They began talking. They began, excitedly, talking about a book. He would write down her comments to measure what she saw and she would dream about his responses in search of what he imagined. There were mistakes. To give the gift of a book without also giving release from the duty to read it is to bar an experience rather than grant one. And to live too fully within a book is to lose some of the worth of life for a time and then later to lose the worth of the book. The middle years were years of trial. Books stacked untouched and in quiet moments they did not read at all. They accused or commiserated, neither answering the other’s dread. Through all this, too, was the way of examination. Joy came not as resumption, not as a conclusion, but as the barely remarkable discovery of what they had never lost. At the end they were sharing a book.

Brian Kershisnik, Lovers Reading