The Library at Night

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Yale University Press, 2008 - Literary Criticism - 385 pages
26 Reviews
Inspired by the process of creating a library for his fifteenth-century home near the Loire, in France, Alberto Manguel, the acclaimed writer on books and reading, has taken up the subject of libraries. "Libraries," he says, "have always seemed to me pleasantly mad places, and for as long as I can remember I've been seduced by their labyrinthine logic." In this personal, deliberately unsystematic, and wide-ranging book, he offers a captivating meditation on the meaning of libraries. Manguel, a guide of irrepressible enthusiasm, conducts a unique library tour that extends from his childhood bookshelves to the "complete" libraries of the Internet, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria as well as the personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others. He recounts stories of people who have struggled against tyranny to preserve freedom of thought--the Polish librarian who smuggled books to safety as the Nazis began their destruction of Jewish libraries; the Afghani bookseller who kept his store open through decades of unrest. Oral "memory libraries" kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, the imaginary library of Count Dracula, the library of books never written--Manguel illuminates the mysteries of libraries as no other writer could. With scores of wonderful images throughout, "The Library at Night "is a fascinating voyage through Manguel's mind, memory, and vast knowledge of books and civilizations.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - datrappert - LibraryThing

Manguel's musings about libraries and related matters are, as is to be expected from this most genial and educated of writers, wide ranging and fascinating. I especially enjoyed the anecdotes and the ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Caitdub - LibraryThing

I was really looking forward to reading this book, but my excitement didn't last beyond page 10. This was a very dry and difficult read. I found it slow-going and scattered at times. However, I kept ... Read full review

Contents

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About the author (2008)

Alberto Manguel is the author of "A History of Reading" and (with Gianni Guadalupi) of "The Dictionary of Imaginery Places". His novel "News from a Foreign Country Came" won the McKitterick prize in 1992.

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