So why read magic? I have to admit I've never seen it used. I never played a magic user as a kid, because I'm a bonehead and only wanted to play minotaur barbarians (and, yeah, I was a teenager during the Dragonlance years, at least when I played on Krynn).
I don't even know if it exists in 3.x. Let me check the SRD. It's there as a 0-level spell that's used to "decipher magical inscriptions on objects—books, scrolls, weapons, and the like—that would otherwise be unintelligible".
What started me thinking about this was, not surprisingly I guess, the way the spell is presented in OD&D (which I really should quote here, but I don't have my booklet with me) because it implies that magic-users will need to have this spell on hand for any spell-reading they want to do, say at memorization time. That could be a welcome brake on the power of higher level wizards, but it's hamstringing to the 1st level guy, isn't it?
Here's what my copy of Swords & Wizardry White Box says: "allows [you] to read magical writings on items and scrolls. Magical writing cannot be read without . . . this spell." And the duration is specified as "2 scrolls or other writings."
Do these magical writings include your own spell book? What do you suppose this spell was originally intended to do? How do you use it? Did you piledrive it too? (If you haven't read those posts at Monsters & Manuals, I'd say they're worth your time.)
I have an idea for a variant--which is really just a re-skin, but I suppose I'll save it for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day (April 17), in case I don't think of anything better before then. It'll even give me time to write it.