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Mikeharvey

The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel

This is a beautiful volume and one that will be enjoyed by anyone who loves books. Starting with his personal librray in France, Manguel writes charmingly and discursively about libraries in all their aspects. The chapters cover the library as Myth, Order, Space, Power, Shadow, Shape, Chance, Workshop, Mind, Island, Survival, Oblivion, Imagination, Identity and Home. The book is full of stories and anecdotes about books and libraries, and ranges from the very earliest libraries to the present. I especially liked the account of Dickens' library with its row of imaginary titles including a "Catalogue of statues of the Duke of Wellington" in 20 Vols. A contunual thread running through the book is the sad loss of libraries and books from the Library of Alexandria through the Nazi book-burnings to the looting of the library of Baghdad in our own time. I loved this book and found it delightful and ultimately moving. (The Library at Night- Yale - H/B 18.99)
Alberto Manguel has written two other beautifully produced and enchantingly discursive books - "A History of Reading" and "Reading Pictures". He also wrote the fascinating-sounding "A Dictionary of Imaginary Places" which I haven't yet found a copy of.
Vita

I have read The History of Reading and loved it. Fascinating anecdotes and detail but coherent overall. It also sparked off an interest in images of people reading. Family and friends began to send me postcards from galleries of any that they came across and, after I had used one of these as a book mark at work, some of my students/pupils did the same for me. (I don't as yet have Evie's avatar!) Just ranging these chronologically is interesting.
The Library at Night goes on my wish list, Mike. Oh and Reading Pictures.

       Big Readers Forum Index -> What non-fiction are you reading?
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