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by Alberto Manguel

  • ISBN: 0300139144
  • Category: Fiction
  • Author: Alberto Manguel
  • Subcategory: History & Criticism
  • Other formats: lrf doc lrf mbr
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 29, 2008)
  • Pages: 384 pages
  • FB2 size: 1760 kb
  • EPUB size: 1806 kb
  • Rating: 4.7
  • Votes: 513
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The Library at Night book. Alberto Manguel as he talks about his library also entertains the reader with stories about libraries both public and private around the world. He talks about reading almost as a form of worship.

The Library at Night book.

Who better than Alberto Manguel, that globetrotting, multilingual citizen of the worl. o pay homage to the library as. . o pay homage to the library as the centre of civilization. he Library at Night is filled with odd combinations, unexpected transitions and wandering scraps of esoterica with aphorisms appearing as signposts along the wa.This book is utterly sensitive to the experience of readin.Manguel, in this and his other books, comes off as quite the raconteur.

Alberto Manguel has brought out a richly enjoyable book, absolutely enthralling for anyone who loves to read and an inspiration .

Alberto Manguel has brought out a richly enjoyable book, absolutely enthralling for anyone who loves to read and an inspiration for anybody who has ever dreamed of building a library of his or her ow. ―Michael Dirda, Washington Post Book World.

PAGES II/III: Aby Warburg's Library, Hamburg, Germany. First published in Canada in 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf Canada. First published in the United States in 2008 by Yale University Press.

The Library at Night. Books for People with Print Disabilities. Internet Archive Books.

Bibliophile Alberto Manguel's The Library at Night evokes a magical, living universe, says Peter Conrad

Bibliophile Alberto Manguel's The Library at Night evokes a magical, living universe, says Peter Conrad. Here he sits, preferably at night, with the 'shapeless universe' outside expunged by darkness. Warmed by the pools of light that spill from his lamps, he does not even need to read: the smell of the wooden shelves and 'the musky perfume of the leather bindings' is enough to pacify him and prepare him for sleep.

The Library at Night begins with the design and construction of Alberto Manguel’s own library at his house in western France – a process that raises puzzling questions about his past and his reading habits.

The Library at Night begins with the design and construction of Alberto Manguel’s own library at his house in western France – a process that raises puzzling questions about his past and his reading habits, as well as broader ones about the nature of categories, catalogues, architecture and identity. Thematically organized and beautifully illustrated, this book considers libraries as treasure troves and architectural spaces; it looks on them as autobiographies of their owners and as statements of national identity. 385 Pages · 2008 · . 2 MB · 121 Downloads ·English. At the end of your life, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with a husband, a friend, a child, or a parent.

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.

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.

Reviews about The Library at Night (7):
“A house that has a library has a soul.”
– Plato

Just like A History Of Reading is an unabashed book about all things reading, The Library At Night is an unabashed book about the veritable signature sanctum for all readers throughout history: The Library.

Looking at libraries from fifteen different perspectives, Manguel shows us the The Library as myth, order, space, power, shadow, shape, chance, workshop, mind, island, survival, oblivion, imagination, identity and home.

In each of these respective chapters, the author keenly compares each topic to the library, and in a very refreshing, vivid, and thoughtful way shows us how the library fulfills each of those themes.

Since time immemorial, entering a library has always been seen as entering a different domain. It matters not whether one is merely a researcher, a reader, a student, or someone else. Everyone knows that the library is a place of adventure, place of learning, a place of rumination. The fact that one can hear pin drops in libraries [and most book stores for that matter] shows the respect everyone has for such an ancient intellectual sanctum. Throughout the book, the same level of respect is shown by Manguel as he takes us on a journey on all things libraries.

For avid learners, libraries have always been a private realm, a place of mental solitude and discernment. Any individual, at any time, in any place can keenly escape into the mental freedoms such a place affords.

In a sense, libraries are a page of human history – a well known locale in which one can hearken back in time, and even forward, to witness the totality of the human experience. Or at least what’s left of its memories.

Be that as it may, Libraries haven’t always been respected. Within this book, Manguel details a few of the most heinous human acts: the destruction of libraries.

Given that books impart great power, books have always been seen as dangerous by those in power. Libraries are symbols of what human nature can accomplish when totally free to explore and create, which is why time and time again there are those who have sought to destroy them, to keep people dumbed down and ignorant of the roots of civilization – the veritable pages of history.

As Manguel sobberingly notes:

“The libraries that have vanished or have never been allowed to exist greatly surpass in number those we can visit…”[1]

Of those that remain:

“Throughout history, the victor’s library stands as the emblem of power, repository of the official version [of history], but the version that haunts us is the other, the version of the library of ashes. The victim’s library, abandoned or destroyed, keeps on asking, “How were such acts possible?”[2]

What has humanity forgotten? What has gone by the wayside to the sands of time? It’s worth ruminating upon, especially since the cycles of history teach us that sooner or later, the war against books and libraries takes center stage.

And given that censorship of articles, books and blogs is beginning to run rampant as governments and institutions try to censor “fake news”, the modern version of book burning will merely be the censorship of the written word through the landscape of the Internet, and many are feeling the flames of this fierce fire, myself included. Again, what are they trying to prevent? What are they trying to hide? Each and every one of us should ponder these questions deeply.

Mostly though, Libraries conjure positive thoughts, and most of the book covers the positive aspects that libraries infuse into individuals.

Manguel elucidates on this:

“The existence of any library, even mine, allows readers a sense of what their craft is truly about, a craft that struggles against the stringencies of time by bringing fragments of the past into the present. It grants them a glimpse, however secret or distant, into the minds of other human beings, and allows them a certain knowledge of their own condition through the stories stored here for their perusal. Above all, it tells the reader that their craft consists of the power to remember, actively, through the prompt of the page, selected moments of the human experience.”[3]

Those reasons are exactly why libraries will confer power, because they allow individuals to become self sufficient in more ways than they can imagine, fine tuning their mental faculties in ways no other place does.

Libraries help us see the past, but even better, help us imagine a greater future.

In a time where countless issues abound, imagining a better future is certainly a prospect worthy of proper ponderance.

Whether you are a student, a researcher, a reporter, or merely a reader, the library will always provide a sanctum, a personal space, like a warm fire at night, to be used at any moment. In similar fashion, this book provides readers with comfort and all the amenities that libraries provide, but in book fashion. If that notion appeals to you, then you will undoubtedly enjoy this book.


[1] Alberto Manguel, The Library At Night, pg. 124.
[2] Ibid., pg. 247.
[3] Ibid., pg. 30.
Sad to say, but this book turned out to be one of diminishing returns. Manguel is a clear lover of books and libraries, and he researched intriguing stories about various libraries, their development, their architecture, their necessity, their maps of the human mind. But just like another book I read a few years back that tried to address the joys and magic of reading and books, I found Manguel's ideas interesting but not world-shifting. This book certainly deserves its praise, for his efforts are clearly heartfelt and thorough, but I must admit that I find the overall tone a little one-note. Thus, the trend of categories through which he studies the concept of the library (as memory, as shadow, as shape, as oblivion) less and less surprising and thus less and less engaging. Perhaps some left-turns and even more self-doubt or -criticism might have taken this into more compelling directions.
As a writer and researcher I have been privileged to use several of the Libraries mentioned in this useful and highly entertaining volume. In addition I have accumulated several small libraries of my own over the years as my interests changed and developed. First aviation and electronics, then photography and art. Then the photography and art had to be sold to make way for early Buddhist works in English, then much of that left so that I could accumulate everything I could find on early forms of hands on healing from Aesculapius to Mesmer and current forms. Now my largest collection covers birds and birding.
I seem to have become addicted to libraries!
The Library at Night is a fine, fine book, full of tales of libraries and books by a man who loves both and writes about them beautifully.
A true delight to read.
Richard, Sausalito
I loved this book. The author captures the essence and passion of all of us who love books. I am not talking just of people who read, but of those of us who have books all over the house and are reluctant to part with any of them. Please,if you walk into a library and cannot decide where to start; if you go into a bookstore to buy A book and come out several hours later with a bag full; if you are late to work because you picked up a book and lost track of time then I encourage you to read this book.
I must preface this review by saying that, 1) I am an avid book collector and reader, and 2) I tend to prowl around the house (and my library in particular) late at night after the family are all asleep.

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".
While not a history or philosophy text, the reader will find plenty of both in this collection of essays about libraries. The author begins with his own library, its building and organization, then expands to include musings on a variety of topics related to libraries and book collections. The author's grasp of multiple languages reflects his own cosmopolitan leanings, which he advocates for all.
A beautiful book for book lovers. For me the perfect book for reading in bed before falling asleep. I learn some things, I am immersed in interesting thought and ideas, but without any tension. Just right for the time before sleep.
This is a book for the person who thinks a book is a necessary tool to greater knowledge. Without it one's library isn't full.
You can go into it wherever you choose and learn from the experience. And loving every minute of it! I envy the person who has this book to look forward to.

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