The Library at NightPaperback
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- Publisher: Yale University Press
- Format: Paperback | 384 pages
- Dimensions: 142mm x 228mm x 28mm | 520g
- Publication date: 28 April 2009
- Publication City/Country: New Haven
- ISBN 10: 0300151306
- ISBN 13: 9780300151305
- Illustrations note: 76 black-&-white illustrations
- Sales rank: 62,471
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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Alberto Manguel is an internationally acclaimed anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor, and the author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading.
By Kezia Perry 02 Sep 2010
"The love of libraries, like most loves, must be learned"
The Library At Night is non-fiction and is a critical text and personal memoir combined by Manguel to discuss famous, historical and wonderful libraries such as the Library at Alexander of which there is no description because the scholars had such hubris, they thought it irrelevant to write one.
For someone like me, who loves the library more than any other place on earth, this book is like magic. In it, Manguel moves through chapters discussing libraries and studies as places of euthymia, A Greek word which Seneca explained means "well-being of the soul"... ( p188) The chapters are imaginative and offer opinions and learning on "The Library as Myth", "The Library as Identity", "The Library as Home", "The Library as Chance".... It's a perfervid book.
"'... crowded with memorable tales of reading as rescue, as solace, as liberation, in times of want, fear or tyranny... The Library at Night revels in the physical pleasure of drifting and dipping through the Gutenberg galaxy of ink-on-paper books.' Boyd Tonkin interview with Alberto Manguel, The Independent 'Books jump out of their jackets when Manguel opens them and dance in delight as they make contact with his ingenious, voluminous brain. He is not the keeper of a silent cemetery, but a master of bibliographical revels.' Peter Conrad, The Observer"