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A History of Reading Paperback – 21 Apr 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; 1st edition (21 April 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006546811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006546818
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 23,374 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

"To read is to fly; it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience, and the fruits of many inquiries. A life thus equipped might not be happier – might sometimes be less so, indeed, for to know more can be to feel more, and the ground note of history is a long cry of pain – but it is vastly richer . . .As is inevitable with so self-reflexive an enterprise, much has been written about books and reading. Little of it has been better than this wonderful account, 'A History of Reading', by Alberto Manguel, a judicious magpie of a literatus who has collected a trove of fascinations on the subject, and arranged them brilliantly . . . .almost every page bristles with interest"
A C GRAYLING 'Financial Times'

"Wonderful stuff . . . A rich and savoury casserole of learning, Manguel’s 'A History of Reading' at first refreshes and soothes the jaded palate and ends with delicious titbits from the lives and works of great authors. "
VICTORIA NEUMARK ' Times Educational Supplement'

"What Alberto Manguel has given us is his personal response to books and reading in the form of an anthology comprising mythology, anecdote, theology, history and autobiography . . . in lucid and elegant prose . . . highly enjoyable. I finished 'A History of Reading' 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'Sunday Times'

"A charming, old-fashioned, up-to-date, belletristic tribute to the art of reading."
KARL MILLER 'Observer'

"Delightful, written in a lively and lucid prose. "
ROGER SCRUTON 'The Times'

"A passionate book . . . .highly entertaining. "
MICHIKO KAKUTANI 'New York Times'

Manguel’s erudition is awe-inspiring"
D J ENRIGHT 'Times Literary Supplement'

"A delightfully wide-ranging, beguiling study of a small daily miracle. "
PAUL BAILEY ' Daily Telegraph'


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By in libris on 29 Feb 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I think this is a really great book which I have given a number of people as presents and they have all rated it highly.
Easy to read and a fascinating account of how we read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Hopper VINE VOICE on 27 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
This was an interesting and reflective look at the history of reading and books, touching inevitably on the history of education and indeed of human thought generally. Densely erudite in some places, but delightfully light touch in many others. Some interesting nuggets such as:

Reading, even to oneself for pleasure, was very largely carried out aloud until early Medieval times; only in about the fourth century AD did silent reading become more accepted.

Reading and writing were initially seen as destroyers of human memory and therefore bad thing
Well worth dipping into, and some interesting and unusual illustrations as well. 4/5
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 5 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
Mangel is a true dilettante and a man who truly knows where to be, when it comes to reading. He is a jew, risen in Argentina, but has traveled all over the world. As a teenager he read to Borges, who was already blind, so he could enjoy not only the reading, but the comments, too! He speaks several languajes and has lived in France, Canada, Israel...
The book makes a comprehensive history of the act of reading, is not a chronological history of how writing was invented, but more about the meaning of writing and reading to the person and to civilisation. He has built an essay on culture, on how culture is built on the shoulders of reading and writing. He coves from Sumer to Paris, from Buenos Aires to Pennsylvania. His knowledge is ample and superb. He goes from St Agustine to Walt Whitman, from Virgil to Kafka, and back again.
In the end, one is happy, truly elated to be able to read, to share this experience with so many people.
The book is also superbly illustrated, and one wonders how the author has managed to get hold (and to set in place) so much wisdom.
A true intelectual and esthetic joy.
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37 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 12 Jan 2000
Format: Paperback
Insightful and readable account of man's relationship with the written word. This is a timely account showing how the transmission of thoughts and ideas through the written word has changed through the evolution of culture, learning, and the physical form of the written word. At a time when the informational age pushes us towards a new relationships with the written word, it is worth taking stock of how we got to this point in our cultural history.
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