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.
The language in which we speak about art has become steadily more abstruse, though for thousands of years this was not the case, Today, we live in a kaleidoscopic new world of images. Is there a vocabulary we can learn in order to read these images? Is there something we can do so as not to remain passive when we flip through an illustrated book or wander through a gallery, or are there ways in which we can 'read' the stories within paintings, monumnets, buildings and sculptures? We say 'every picture tells a story', but does it? Taking a handful of extraordinary images - photagraphed, painted, built, sculpted - Alberto Manguel explores, with delight and erudition, how each one attempts to tell a story that we, the viewer, must decipher or invent. Whether delving into the love of life in the twentieth-century world of Joan Mitchell, or the brutal complexities of Picasso's treatment of his mistress; revisiting the riddles of the past in the fifteenth-century painting of Robert Campin, or exploring the heartrending life of 'the hairy girl' whose matted fur so astonished sixteenth-century Italy, he helps us to enjoy and explore the visual landscape we live in.
In the tradition of A History of Reading, this book is an account of Manguel’s astonishment at the variety, beauty and persistence of our efforts to shape the world and our lives, most notably through something almost as old as reading itself: libraries. 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 o...
While traveling, Manguel was struck by how the novel he was reading seemed to reflect the social chaos of the world he was living in. He decided to keep a diary of these moments, reading a book a month and recording his observations, which provides an enthralling adventure in literature and life.
While travelling in Calgary, Alberto Manguel was struck by how the novel he was reading seemed to reflect the world he was living in. An article in the daily paper would be suddenly illuminated by a passage in the novel; a long reflection would be prompted by a single word. He decided to keep a record of these moments, rereading a book a month, and formed A Reading Diary: a volume of notes, impressions of travel, of friends, of public and private events, all elicited by his reading.
By the award-winning author of A History of Reading "For me, words on a page give the world coherence--Words tell us what we, as a society, believe the world to be--I believe there is an ethic of reading--a commitment that is both political and private in the act of turning the pages. And I believe that sometimes, beyond the author's intentions and beyond the reader's hopes, a book can make us better and wiser." Through personal stories and literary reflections, in a style rich in humour and gentle erudition, Manguel leads us, the readers, to reflect upon the pleasures and responsibilities of reading, and the links that exist between the world we live in, and the words we live amongst. Into the Looking-Glass Wood is a voyage into the subversive heart of words - a voyage fired by the author's humanity and extraordinary breadth of vision. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Alberto Manguel sets out to investigate the ways in which stories can lend an identity to a whole society. His book is also about the art of reading, at a time when Manguel argues that it is still possible for stories to change us and the world we live in.
In the lush, uninhibited atmosphere of Samoa, Robert Louis Stevenson is languishing with the disease that will soon kill him; when a chance encounter with the mysterious Scottish missionary, Mr Baker, turns his thoughts back to his conservative, post-Reformation Edinburgh home. As Stevenson's meetings with the tantalizingly nebulous missionary become increasingly strange, a series of crimes against the native population sours the atmosphere. With its playful nod to Stevenson's life and work Manguel has woven an intoxicating tale in which fantasy infiltrates reality.
As far as one can tell, human beings are the only species for which the world seems made up of stories, Alberto Manguel writes. We read the book of the world in many guises: we may be travelers, advancing through its pages like pilgrims heading toward enlightenment. We may be recluses, withdrawing through our reading into our own ivory towers. Or we may devour our books like burrowing worms, not to benefit from the wisdom they contain but merely to stuff ourselves with countless words. With consummate grace and extraordinary breadth, the best-selling author of A History of Reading and The Library at Night considers the chain of metaphors that have described readers and their relationships to...