The most useful thing I brought out of my childhood was confidence in reading. Not long ago, I went on a weekend self-exploratory workshop, in the hope of getting a clue about how to live. One of the exercises we were given was to make a list of the ten most important events of our lives—the key moments that brought us from birth to wherever we are now. Number one was: "I was born," and you could put whatever you liked after that. Without even thinking about it my hand wrote, at number two: "I learnt to read." . . . Begin born was something done to me, but my own life began—I began for myself—when I first made out the meaning of a sentence.-- Nuala O’Faolain, Are You Somebody? The Accidental Memoir of a Dublin Woman (New York: Henry Holt & Co., 1999), p. 24.