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The Library at Night

The Library at Night
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Vintage Canada
ISBN: 0307370275
Pages: 384
Year: 2011-07-27
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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 on them as autobiographies of their owners and as statements of national identity. It examines small personal libraries and libraries that started as philanthropic ventures, and analyzes the unending promise – and defects – of virtual ones. It compares different methods of categorization (and what they imply) and libraries that have built up by chance as opposed to by conscious direction. In part this is because this is about the library at night, not during the day: this book takes in what happens after the lights go out, when the world is sleeping, when books become the rightful owners of the library and the reader is the interloper. Then all daytime order is upended: one book calls to another across the shelves, and new alliances are created across time and space. And so, as well as the best design for a reading room and the makeup of Robinson Crusoe’s library, this book dwells on more "nocturnal" subjects: fictional libraries like those carried by Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster; shadow libraries of lost and censored books; imaginary libraries of books not yet written. The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through the mind of one our most beloved men of letters. It is an invitation into his memory and vast knowledge of books and civilizations, and throughout – though mostly implicitly – it is also a passionate defence of literacy, of the unique pleasures of reading, of the importance of the book. As much as anything else, The Library at Night reminds us of what a library stands for: the possibility of illumination, of a better path for our society and for us as individuals. That hope too, at the close, is replaced by something that fits this personal and eclectic book even better: something more fragile, and evanescent than illumination, though just as important.

The Library at Night

The Library at Night
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300145217
Pages: 385
Year: 2008-04-01
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Inspired by the process of creating a library for his 15th-century home near the Loire, in France, Manguel, the acclaimed writer on books and reading, has taken up the subject of libraries in this captivating meditation on their meaning and significance.

The Library at Night

The Library at Night
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Vintage Books Canada
ISBN: 0676975895
Pages: 373
Year: 2007
View: 259
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"The starting point is a question," Alberto Manguel writes in the introduction to The Library at Night: since few can doubt that the universe is ultimately meaningless and purposeless, why do we try to give it order? After all, our efforts are surely doomed to failure. It’s hard to think of a more profound or serious subject to start with – but The Library at Night, Alberto Manguel says, is by no means a systematic answer. Rather, it is the story of the search for one. 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 result is both intimately personal and incredibly wide-ranging: it is a fascinating study of the mysteries of libraries, a thorough analysis of their history throughout the world and an esoteric, enchanting celebration of reading. It is, perhaps most of all, a book that only Alberto Manguel could have written. 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. Exploring these themes with a deliberately unsystematic brilliance, Manguel takes us to the great Library at Alexandria, and Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence; we sit with Jorge Luis Borges in his office at the National Library in Argentina, travel with donkeys carrying books into the Colombian hinterland, and discover the Fihrist, a chaotic and delightful bibliographic record of medieval Arab knowledge. There seem to be no limits to Manguel’s learning, or his ability to illuminate his investigations with magical, telling details from the past. 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. It examines small personal libraries and libraries that started as philanthropic ventures, and analyzes the unending promise – and defects – of virtual ones. It compares different methods of categorization (and what they imply) and libraries that have built up by chance as opposed to by conscious direction. Although it is encyclopedic (and discusses encyclopedias assembled by Diderot and fifteenth-century Chinese scholars alike) and full of concrete historical analysis (including a brief investigation of the prejudices underlying the Dewey Decimal System) this book is animated throughout by a gentle, even playful sensibility: it is governed by the browser’s logic of association and pleasure, rather than the rigid lines of scholarly theory. After all, everything in a library is connected: "As the librarians of Alexandria perhaps discovered, any single literary moment necessarily implies all others." In part this is because this is about the library at night, not during the day: this book takes in what happens after the lights go out, when the world is sleeping, when books become the rightful owners of the library and the reader is the interloper. Then all daytime order is upended: one book calls to another across the shelves, and new alliances are created across time and space. And so, as well as the best design for a reading room and the makeup of Robinson Crusoe’s library, this book dwells on more "nocturnal" subjects: fictional libraries like those carried by Count Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster; shadow libraries of lost and censored books; imaginary libraries of books not yet written. The Library at Night is a fascinating voyage through the mind of one our most beloved men of letters. It is an invitation into his memory and vast knowledge of books and civilizations, and throughout – though mostly implicitly – it is also a passionate defence of literacy, of the unique pleasures of reading, of the importance of the book. As much as anything else, The Library at Night reminds us of what a library stands for: the possibility of illumination, of a better path for our society and for us as individuals. That hope too, at the close, is replaced by something that fits this personal and eclectic book even better: something more fragile, and evanescent than illumination, though just as important. The starting point is a question. Outside theology and fantastic literature, few can doubt that the main features of our universe are its dearth of meaning and lack of discernible purpose. And yet, with bewildering optimism, we continue to assemble whatever scraps of information we can gather in scrolls and books and computer chips, on shelf after library shelf, whether material, virtual or otherwise, pathetically intent on lending the world a semblance of sense and order, while knowing perfectly well that, however much we’d like to believe the contrary, our pursuits are sadly doomed to failure. Why then do we do it? Though I knew from the start that the question would most likely remain unanswered, the quest seemed worthwhile for its own sake. This book is the story of that quest. –from The Library at Night From the Hardcover edition.

Packing My Library

Packing My Library
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300235496
Pages: 160
Year: 2018-03-20
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A best-selling author and world-renowned bibliophile meditates on his vast personal library and champions the vital role of all libraries In June 2015 Alberto Manguel prepared to leave his centuries-old village home in France’s Loire Valley and reestablish himself in a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Packing up his enormous, 35,000†‘volume personal library, choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel found himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books and readers, books and collectors, order and disorder, memory and reading. In this poignant and personal reevaluation of his life as a reader, the author illuminates the highly personal art of reading and affirms the vital role of public libraries. Manguel’s musings range widely, from delightful reflections on the idiosyncrasies of book lovers to deeper analyses of historic and catastrophic book events, including the burning of ancient Alexandria’s library and contemporary library lootings at the hands of ISIS. With insight and passion, the author underscores the universal centrality of books and their unique importance to a democratic, civilized, and engaged society.

Bats at the Library

Bats at the Library
Author: Brian Lies
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0547740751
Pages: 32
Year: 2008-09-08
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Another inky evening’s here— The air is cool and calm and clear. Can it be true? Oh, can it be? Yes!—Bat Night at the library! Join the free-for-all fun at the public library with these book-loving bats! Shape shadows on walls, frolic in the water fountain, and roam the book-filled halls until it’s time for everyone, young and old, to settle down into the enchantment of story time. Brian Lies’ joyful critters and their nocturnal celebration cast library visits in a new light. Even the youngest of readers will want to join the batty book-fest!

A History of Reading

A History of Reading
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 0698178971
Pages: 384
Year: 2014-08-26
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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.

All Men Are Liars

All Men Are Liars
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1101574895
Pages: 224
Year: 2012-06-05
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In this gorgeously imagined novel, a journalist interviews those who knew—or thought they knew—Alejandro Bevilacqua, a brilliant, infuriatingly elusive South American writer and author of the masterpiece, In Praise of Lying. But the accounts of those in his circle of friends, lovers, and enemies become increasingly contradictory, murky, and suspect. Is everyone lying, or just telling their own subjective version of the truth? As the literary investigation unfolds and a chorus of Bevilacqua’s peers piece together the fractured reality of his life, thirty years after his death, only the reader holds the power of final judgment. In All Men Are Liars, Alberto Manguel pays homage to literature’s inventions and explores whether we can ever truly know someone, and the question of how, by whom, and for what, we ourselves will be remembered.

Bunny's Book Club

Bunny's Book Club
Author: Annie Silvestro
Publisher: Doubleday Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0553537601
Pages: 40
Year: 2017-02-07
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Join Bunny for a top-secret trip to the library in a story that celebrates the love of reading! Bunny loves to sit outside the library with the kids and listen to summer story time. But when the weather gets cold and everyone moves inside, his daily dose of joy is gone. Desperate, Bunny refuses to miss out on any more reading time and devises a plan to sneak into the library at night . . . through the library’s book drop! What follows is an adorable caper that brings an inquisitive, fuzzy bunny and his woodland pals up close and personal with the books they have grown to love. A warm celebration of the power of books, Bunny’s Book Club is sure to bring knowing smiles to any child, parent, teacher, bookseller, and librarian who understands the one-of-a-kind magic of reading. "A sweet salute to reading."—Kirkus "Silvestro’s debut picture book is a love letter to the pleasures of reading and libraries, and Mai-Wyss’s colorful illustrations are endearing and comforting . . . A lovely and fun addition for every library."—School Library Journal "[Annie Silvestro] makes the pleasures of reading abundantly clear."—Publishers Weekly "Mai-Wyss’ soft, muted watercolor scenes sprinkled with charming, expressive cuddly animals is the perfect complement to Silvestro’s enchanting story about the love of books."—Booklist "will make readers of all ages smile."—Shelf Awareness

When the Library Lights Go Out

When the Library Lights Go Out
Author: Megan McDonald, Katherine Tillotson
Publisher: Pocket Books
ISBN: 1416910514
Pages: 40
Year: 2006-01
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When the library lights go out...the toys in the puppet box spring to life! A magical book about the importance of imagination and friendship.

The Traveler, the Tower, and the Worm

The Traveler, the Tower, and the Worm
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812209109
Pages: 144
Year: 2013-05-28
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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 the text-that-is-the-world over a span of four millennia. In figures as familiar and diverse as the book-addled Don Quixote and the pilgrim Dante who carries us through the depths of hell up to the brilliance of heaven, as well as Prince Hamlet paralyzed by his learning, and Emma Bovary who mistakes what she has read for the life she might one day lead, Manguel charts the ways in which literary characters and their interpretations reflect both shifting attitudes toward readers and reading, and certain recurrent notions on the role of the intellectual: "We are reading creatures. We ingest words, we are made of words. . . . It is through words that we identify our reality and by means of words that we ourselves are identified."

Library: An Unquiet History

Library: An Unquiet History
Author: Matthew Battles
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 0393078620
Pages: 256
Year: 2011-02-07
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"Splendidly articulate, informative and provoking....A book to be savored and gone back to."—Baltimore Sun On the survival and destruction of knowledge, from Alexandria to the Internet. Through the ages, libraries have not only accumulated and preserved but also shaped, inspired, and obliterated knowledge. Matthew Battles, a rare books librarian and a gifted narrator, takes us on a spirited foray from Boston to Baghdad, from classical scriptoria to medieval monasteries, from the Vatican to the British Library, from socialist reading rooms and rural home libraries to the Information Age. He explores how libraries are built and how they are destroyed, from the decay of the great Alexandrian library to scroll burnings in ancient China to the destruction of Aztec books by the Spanish—and in our own time, the burning of libraries in Europe and Bosnia. Encyclopedic in its breadth and novelistic in its telling, this volume will occupy a treasured place on the bookshelf next to Baker's Double Fold, Basbanes's A Gentle Madness, Manguel's A History of Reading, and Winchester's The Professor and the Madman.

A Reader on Reading

A Reader on Reading
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300163045
Pages: 450
Year: 2010-03-02
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In this major collection of his essays, Alberto Manguel, whom George Steiner has called “the Casanova of reading,” argues that the activity of reading, in its broadest sense, defines our species. “We come into the world intent on finding narrative in everything,” writes Manguel, “landscape, the skies, the faces of others, the images and words that our species create.” Reading our own lives and those of others, reading the societies we live in and those that lie beyond our borders, reading the worlds that lie between the covers of a book are the essence of A Reader on Reading. The thirty-nine essays in this volume explore the crafts of reading and writing, the identity granted to us by literature, the far-reaching shadow of Jorge Luis Borges, to whom Manguel read as a young man, and the links between politics and books and between books and our bodies. The powers of censorship and intellectual curiosity, the art of translation, and those “numinous memory palaces we call libraries” also figure in this remarkable collection. For Manguel and his readers, words, in spite of everything, lend coherence to the world and offer us “a few safe places, as real as paper and as bracing as ink,” to grant us room and board in our passage.

A Reading Diary

A Reading Diary
Author: Alberto Manguel
Publisher: Canongate Books
ISBN: 1841958212
Pages: 253
Year: 2006
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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.

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places

The Dictionary of Imaginary Places
Author: Alberto Manguel, Gianni Guadalupi
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0156008726
Pages: 755
Year: 2000
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Describes and visualizes over 1,200 magical lands found in literature and film, discussing such exotic realms as Atlantis, Tolkien's Middle Earth, and Oz.

Libraries in the Ancient World

Libraries in the Ancient World
Author: Lionel Casson
Publisher: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300097212
Pages: 177
Year: 2002
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Telling the story of ancient libraries from their very beginnings, when "books" were clay tablets, a renowned classicist takes readers on a lively tour from the royal libraries of the ancient Near East to the private and public libraries of Greece and Rome, down to the first Christian monastic libraries, explaining what books were acquired and how. Illustrations.

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