The Library at Night Paperback – Oct 9 2007
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“Manguel does all facets of his subject proud in The Library at Night, celebrating a treasure we so often take for granted. . . . [H]e also creates a treasure of his own.”
–The Gazette (Montreal)
“[Manguel’s] newest richly imagined and richly anecdotal work . . . [is] his most impassioned and profound case yet for why we should read and why books matter. Why libraries, with their inclusions and exclusions, their deep repositories of our memory and experience, are significant.”
Praise for Alberto Manguel:
“Manguel is a tireless champion of the written word. He cares about books . . . with a deep, unswerving passion because he believes they are – still, despite our electronic progress – essential links between the individual and the world.”
–The Vancouver Sun
Praise for A Reading Diary:
• A Globe and Mail Best Book
• Finalist for the writers’ trust of canada drainie-taylor biography prize
“Alberto Manguel has probably read more widely than almost anyone else now alive. Among English speakers, perhaps only Harold Bloom, George Steiner and Guy Davenport may outclass him – and they are all twenty years his senior, and long-time university teachers, to boot: In short, Manguel’s approach to books remains resolutely that of an amateur, one who loves with the pure joy sometimes denied the more scholarly.”
–The Globe and Mail
“A Reading Diary is an utterly seductive book, the kind of book that lovers will want to read aloud to one another, that friends will quote back and forth.”
“Manguel’s exquisitely distilled style and gentle humility are pure pleasure. His diary is a goldmine of the unexpected, and his companionable, deeply cultivated persona will entrance all those who love to read and to ponder.”
–Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist and editor, Alberto Manguel is the author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading, which was an international bestseller, a New York Times Notable Book, a Times Literary Supplement International Book of the Year, and winner of France’s Prix Medicis.
Alberto Manguel was born in Buenos Aires, moved to Canada in 1982 and now lives in France, where he was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters.
From the Hardcover edition.
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Books have been a major part of the author,s life,and he shares it with us on both a personal and worldwide basis. Generally speaking,anyone who loves books,can never resist the desire to have their own library.In this 373 page book ,he touches on just about every aspect of a library,both those which are personal and those which are public or private.The reader will constantly think of their own library as he discusses all these things. How and why the books are acquired,how are they arranged,how are they catalogued,how long are they kept,how hard were they to acquire,what will become of them,what about lending them,which are your favorites and why,where are they housed;you name it ,he talks about it.
I have a place in my library where I keep "Books About Books".I love to read about books and this one will be at home with them.
This book is beautifully written with a copious amount of amazing photographs. Because the author covers so much in the book,it never gets laboured and there is something new and interesting on every page.
Some of the things are simple ,such as the price-stickers,which he so aptly calls "these evil white scabs".They annoy me as well,and I have found a product called "Goo Gone" a great help in getting rid of them.This reminds me of those "evil doer of deeds" in some bookstores who price-clip the dust jackets because in their little minds they don't think the customers can handle the published price versus what they are asking. I am always interested in the published price of older books and their actions are nothing short of vandalism in what they do. Manguel also talks about items or bookplates readers leave in books as interesting as well, as notes made by other readers and previous owners or readers. Personally,I enjoy these things because they are a bit of the story of the life of that book.
He talks about libraries throughout history and even makes comments about things today,such as; an echo of Carlyle's complaint: "Every day the library is filled with,among others,people sleeping,students doing their homework,bright young things writing film scripts-in fact,doing almost anything except consulting the library's books." Ain't that the truth!!He tells us about the personal libraries of the famous (Rudyard Kipling) and the infamous (Adolf Hitler); with pictures.He talks extensively about his personal library from the time when he was a child to the present time. The reader cannot help but compare the author's to his own.
There are an amazing 44 pages of notes at the end covering 367 sources of information,photo credits and a detailed index. This alone is a treasure trove of information.
It's hard not to go on and on about this book.So,I'll leave it at this and just suggest to pick it up,and see for yourself what a treasure it is.
Overall, a mesmerizing gift from one booklover to all of us other booklovers
I was not quite sure what to expect from this book, from simply reading the title. I could only hope that it would not disappoint and it did not. The book is broken down into 15 chapters. Each of them begins with "The Library As...." You can fill in the blank with such words as "Power," "Myth," "Shadow," and "Chance" (among 11 others). The chapters begin with personal anecdotes from Manguel. We learn a lot about who he is as well as the extent of his personal library. Following the brief reflection, he delves into well-researched historical data that revolve around his chapter topics. The stories he tells flow nicely together and endnotes are provided in the back of the book for further reading. The chapters are quite strong, though I really was expecting more from the last two chapters.
The only negative aspects, and really they aren't negative to all, of this book are Manguel's erudite use of language. He excels at linguistics and I found myself needing a dictionary nearby to help me through the text. Manguel makes many comparisons throughout the text between books, many of which, I had not heard of before. While I was excited about these newly discovered books,at least to me, they are not commonplace. So, yes, this book is written on a somewhat high intellectual level and a portion of its charm is lost by the author speaking over the reader's head.
Alberto Manguel is a wise and learned author. The lessons of his well written book go beyond libraries and touch on what makes us human, and that which connects us, across time and as people, to our historical past.
I can't imagine anyone who has grown, or dreams of growing, a personal library not loving this book. It's like sitting and chatting with a wise, engaging friend about a mutual love of books and libraries. Manguel writes the words, I speak them in my head, but they feel like they came right out of my own heart. I won't try to describe these essays in any detail. I know I will read them again and again and they will never grow stale. Suffice it to say that, when it comes to books about books, it may not be possible to beat "The Library at Night".