A History of Reading

A History of Reading

3.98 (3,180 ratings by Goodreads)
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At one magical instant in your early childhood, the page of a book--that string of confused, alien ciphers--shivered into meaning, and at that moment, whole universes opened. You became, irrevocably, a reader. Noted essayist and editor Alberto Manguel moves from this essential moment to explore the six-thousand-year-old conversation between words and that hero without whom the book would be a lifeless object: the reader. Manguel brilliantly covers reading as seduction, as rebellion, and as obsession and goes on to trace the quirky and fascinating history of the reader's progress from clay tablet to scroll, codex to CD-ROM.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 372 pages
  • 155 x 230 x 30mm | 499.99g
  • Penguin Putnam Inc
  • The Penguin Press
  • United States
  • English
  • Revised
  • Revised
  • Plates, color; Illustrations, black and white
  • 0143126717
  • 9780143126713
  • 330,686

Review quote

Praise for A History of Reading: "Ingenious...a veritable museum of literacy. One feels envious of his passion...through it, his gift becomes our own."--The New York Times Book Review "Manguel has taken on the daunting subject of our own passion for books and succeeded in turning it into a passionate book of his own."--Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times "No one who follows Manguel's narrative to its conclusion need ever again feel guilty about putting off errands, chores, the bills, the kids, sleep--whatever--and curling up with a good, or even a great, book."--Newsweek "Manguel is a generous companion...he remains, in the proper sense of the word, an 'amateur, ' a lover rather than a specialist."--George Steiner, the New Yorker "Richly detailed and utterly fascinating...what lifts A History of Reading above mere charm and idiosyncrasy is Manguel's reader's soul. A few hours passed with [his] book will remind anyone who needs reminding that an astonishing bond exists between word and world."--Sven Birkerts, Boston Magazine "A highly entertaining overview that leaves us with both a new appreciation of our own bibliomania and a deeper understanding of the role that the written word has played throughout history."--The New York Times "Manguel's digressions are delightful, his anecdotes appealing, and his stories scintillating. What might have been no more than one dammed thing after another turns out to be, at the handsof this splendid raconteur, one divine thing after another....It is all utterly beguiling."--The Boston Sunday Globe "Impressionistic, engrossing."--Time "An entertaining, provocative, and informative book."--The Washington Post "Tickles, surprises, and amuses."--The Philadelphia Inquirer "Impressive, engaging."--The Washington Times "Erudite and original."--The Miami Herald "Enormously entertaining."--San Francisco Chronicle "A wonderful merger of scholarship and personal essay....Manguel writes so beautifully and felicitously that he infects us with enthusiasm again and again."--Philip Lopate "Manguel's urbane, unpretentious tone recalls that of a friend eager to share his knowledge and enthusiasm. His book, digressive, witty, surprising, is a pleasure."--Kirkus "Highly enjoyable....I finished the book with a sense of gratitude to have shared this journey through time in the company of a mind so lively, knowledgeable, and sympathetic."--P. D. James "An eclectic and deeply felt history of reading. It is a history illuminated by an acute sensibility....An unfailingly engaging work."--School Library Journal "Unique, enlightening, and as captivating as a celebration of reading should be."--Booklist "Interesting, intriguing, and entertaining."--Library Journal "Erudition and memoir are beautifully wed in this stimulating and provocative book."--Virginia Quarterly Review
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About Alberto Manguel

Alberto Manguel is a writer, a translator, and an editor of international reputation; his many books include The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (with Gianni Guadalupi), the award-winning novel News From a Foreign Country Came, and the short story anthologies Black Water, The Gates of Paradise, and (with Craig Stephenson) In Another Part of the Forest. Born in Buenos Aires, Manguel has traveled extensively and is now a Canadian citizen.
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Rating details

3,180 ratings
3.98 out of 5 stars
5 34% (1,083)
4 39% (1,236)
3 20% (648)
2 5% (165)
1 2% (48)
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