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The Library at Night (2006)

by Alberto Manguel

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,306634,546 (4.12)194
Inspired by the process of creating a library for his home near the Loire, in France, Alberto Manguel, writer on books and reading, has taken up the subject of libraries. "Libraries 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 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 Internet, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to Google. He ponders 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, oral "memory libraries" kept alive by prisoners, libraries of banned books, and the library of books never written.--From publisher description.… (more)
Recently added byFageisBeech, kayakerjames, private library, matthewmcvickar, BiblioKEIA, m1337
  1. 30
    Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles (Ludi_Ling)
  2. 10
    Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence Goldstone (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Bibliophiles meditate on the considerations of assembling a library
  3. 10
    On the Map: why the World Looks the Way it Does by Simon Garfield (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Does for Maps what Manguel's book does for libraries.
  4. 00
    Resa i tysta rum : okända svenska slottsbibliotek by Per Wästberg (bonne1978)
  5. 00
    Libraries in the Ancient World by Lionel Casson (Ludi_Ling)
  6. 00
    Sixpence House by Paul Collins (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: A bibliophile reflects on books, bookselling, writing and reading in the book-filled Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye
  7. 00
    The Library: An Illustrated History by Stuart A. P. Murray (Jannes)
    Jannes: Nice Coffee table-ish book that should be a treat for anyone with an interest in libraries and library history.
  8. 01
    The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby (kristenn)

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» See also 194 mentions

English (50)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (3)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
The author seems a bit full of himself. I own the books I do because I enjoy them, not to impress others about how literate I am.

I have bookcases in the rooms we live in, not a separate library with a wall from a medieval castle. Well, good for him, but it makes relating to what he writes very difficult. I gave up fairly early. ( )
  MarthaJeanne | Jan 30, 2020 |
A book about libraries and reading is a bit of an easy mark, but this one was done well. The prose is lucid and familiar, the subject is broad across time and place, and the curious facts and incidental stories are frequent. My kind of book. ( )
  Eoin | Jun 3, 2019 |
In my fool hardy youth, when my friends were dreaming of heroic deeds in the realms of engineering and law, finance and national politics, I dreamt of becoming a librarian.

I did not, but have always felt safe there, even when I walked into the bottom of a concrete staircase and was nearly knocked unconscious. There's unfortunately something mercenary about me. I love used bookstores more. I also leer at the books of other people when I am in their homes.

Manguel spends excessive time with the physical aspects and functions of libraries. There are dabs of criticism, almost poetic but I wanted more. I want someone to capture the way I feel when approaching Powell's or The Strand. ( )
  jonfaith | Feb 22, 2019 |
A collection of essays forming a meditation on the meaning of libraries throughout history. Most were totally delightful, I especially enjoyed the essay "The Library as Chance". It is easy to take libraries and the availability of books for granted. These essays really makes of appreciate the effort involved. "Immensely generous my books make no demand on me but offer all kinds of illuminations." ( )
  MM_Jones | Sep 7, 2017 |
Excellent book if you like to think about libraries! I read this at a very low time in my life, and it lifted me as I mused over the libraries Manguel helped me to visit. We worth having if you a bibliophile. ( )
  AmishTechie | Jul 6, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
The Library at Night, fortunately, is more than a tour of the microcosm contained in Manguel's converted barn. Its fondness for leathery bindings and its fussy annoyance about the 'evil white scabs' of price-stickers slimily glued to book jackets soon give way to a crusading defence of the library as a mental sanctuary, a repository of memory, the only kind of home that has any emotional value for Manguel the deracinated cosmopolitan.
added by Ludi_Ling | editThe Observer, Peter Conrad (Apr 22, 2008)
Manguel beschrijft de vele facetten en problemen van het verzamelen, zowel voor de particuliere verzamelaar als voor de professionele bibliothecaris.
Wie het boek van Alberto Manguel leest, maakt een boeiende en interessante reis door de boekenwereld van vele eeuwen. Boeiende beschrijvingen, doortrokken met anekdotes die in Manguels fabelachtige geheugen liggen opgeslagen. Ik raad iedereen die meer dan honderd boeken heeft aan dit boek te kopen en te lezen
De bibliotheek bij nacht is een boek over de manieren waarop de mens door de eeuwen heen boeken heeft verzameld en bibliotheken heeft vormgegeven. Manguel is niet alleen geïnteresseerd in geschiedenis en architectuur, maar ook in de psychologie van de bibliothecaris, waarbij hij volop ruimte biedt aan anekdotes die ergens in zijn fabelachtige geheugen lagen opgeslagen („Ik denk in citaten”).
added by sneuper | editNRC, Pieter Steinz (Dec 14, 2007)
Den spränglärde Alberto Manguel har skrivit en faktaspäckad bibliotekshistoria med poetiska och en del humoristiska och tragikomiska inslag. Om dock, som sagt, alltför välfylld
Manguels bok har den där sällsynta kombinationen av lätthet och tyngd, oväntade infall och uppfordrande eftertanke.

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Manguel, Albertoprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Allié, ManfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eklöf, MargaretaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kempf-Allié, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Le Boeuf, ChristineTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In the sixteenth century, the Ottoman poet Adbullatif Celebi, better known as Latifi, called each of the books in his library "a true and loving friend who drives away all cares."
This book is for Craig.
First words
The library in which I have at long last collected my books began life as a barn sometime in the fifteenth century, perched on a small hill south of the Loire.
If a library is a mirror of the universe, then a catalogue is a mirror of that mirror.
Writing about the librarian's action [hiding the books], Borzykowski remarked that it was carried out "without any consideration as to whether anyone would ever need the saved books": it was an act of rescuing memory per se. The universe, the ancient cabbalists believed, is not contingent on our reading it; only on the possibility of our reading it.
In order for these nightly imaginations to flourish, I must allow my other senses to awaken—to see and touch the pages, to hear the crinkle and the rustle of the paper and the fearful crack of the spine, to smell the wood of the shelves, the musky perfume of the leather bindings, the acrid scent of my yellowing pocket books. Then I can sleep.
"...the Library of Congress's catalogues...include such curious categories as:
~ banana research
~ bat binding
~ boots and shoes in art
~ chickens in religion and folklore
~ sewage: collected works
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Yale University Press

2 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300139144, 0300151306

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