Shop now Shop now Shop now Up to 50% off Fashion Prime Photos Shop now Learn More Fireworks GNO Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Bundle for Kids Listen in Prime Shop Now Shop now
Buy Used
+ £2.80 UK delivery
Used: Very Good | Details
Sold by bookdonors
Condition: Used: Very Good
Comment: Shipped from the UK. Hardback with dust jacket which reflects used condition. Friendly customer service. We are a not-for-profit Social Enterprise trading in used books to help people, charities and the environment.
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader's Reflections On A Year Of Books Hardcover – Illustrated, 16 Jun 2005

3 customer reviews

See all formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price
New from Used from
Hardcover, Illustrated
"Please retry"
£39.82 £0.01

Special Offers and Product Promotions

  • Save £20 on with the aqua Classic card. Get an initial credit line of £250-£1,200 and build your credit rating. Representative 32.9% APR (variable). Subject to term and conditions. Learn more.

No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet and computer.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.

Start your six-month trial with Amazon Student

Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; illustrated edition edition (16 Jun. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841956384
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841956381
  • Product Dimensions: 18.2 x 14 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 527,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, and more.

Product Description


"Inspirational and enormously entertaining." (Big Issue)

"Charminly erudite . . . these warm and wise fragments of memoir, observation and meditation all belong in the class of books that readers - and re-readers - aore, rather tahn gate-keeping critics admire. Manguel dives back with infectious delight . . ." (Independent)

"A remarkable achievement. I finished the book 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)

"Its ebb and flow beautifully celebrate the way the best fiction works: quiety informing, embracing, providing connections and sometimes even changing the way one sees reality." (Metro)

"An elegant, quaint and sensitive meditation on the nature of reading." (Times Literary Supplement)

"Certain to give civilized pleasure." (Observer)

"A love letter written to reading." (George Steiner) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Internationally acclaimed as an essayist and novelist, Alberto Manguel is also a prize-winning translator and has edited ten anthologies. Author of the award-winning A History of Reading, News from a Foreign Country Came and Stevenson Under the Palm Trees, his most recent book is A Reading Diary. Born in Buenos Aires, he has lived in Italy, England, Tahiti and Canada, and now lives in France, where he was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. ...more

Inside This Book

(Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Excerpt
Search inside this book:

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star
See all 3 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Simon Smith and the Amazing Dancing Bear on 14 Sept. 2006
Format: Paperback
...and vice versa.

In this book Manguel recounts his experiences of a year (2002/03) considered through reflections on books he re-reads - a different book for each month. Each book becomes relevant and newly resonant when connected with contemporary happenings. It is not hard to find links between Don Quixote and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but Manguel is never anything but subtle. Though his thoughts are often wistful and occasionally melancholy, this is a warm and tender book, full of astute observations and amusing anecdotes.

Manguel is intimidatingly well-read and it was, admittedly more enjoyable to read the chapters/months where he read books that were familiar to me, but I have been inspired to read those books that were new to me, so lovingly are they described.

I read Stevenson Under the Palm Trees by Manguel a couple of years ago and was impressed by his tight grip on the prose in that sultry and claustrophobic novella. A Reading Diary is, by contrast fresh and light but, though the temptation to ramble must have been there, the author has maintained an ability to sound succinct yet relaxed in this thoroughly enjoyable book.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Aug. 2005
Format: Hardcover
Another book of quiet reflections from Manguel, doing what he does best, combining the personal with the critical review, to produce a finely crafted work.
Nothing to shock, and not as entertaining as his The History of Reading, but much to enjoy and savour.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
By Sheila on 23 Nov. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
as I knit at the same time as I read this book is very good and different, pleased that I got it
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 10 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
"I realize that I think in fragments" 5 Nov. 2005
By A. Ross - Published on
Format: Hardcover
About 3/4 of the way through Manguel's account of rereading one of his favorite books every month for a year, he writes "I realize that I think in fragments". This self-enlightenment serves as pretty good summation of his slim combination of literary criticism and memoir. Over the course of his project, he sets up a new home in rural France, takes trips to his native Argentina, Canada, Sweden, Germany, Italy, and the UK, hosts visits from his adult children, and follows the buildup to the war on Iraq. All the while, his rereading occurs, and he manages to tease out relevant insights from his favorite works in a kind of free-associative rambling. A longtime editor, anthologist, and writer, Manguel is something of a professional reader, and can seemingly draw upon a vast trove of quotations and passages at will. Thus, there appear quote after quote from a wide range of texts from which Manguel draws parallels to the one he's reading at the moment. It's rather daunting to be confronted with such a wide-range of knowledge and anecdote, and it's to Manguel's credit that it never once seems like showing off or obscurantism. That said, only a certain kind of person is likely to really enjoy the book, and a quick listing the twelve books he reads is likely to be a very useful guidepost:

The Invention of Morel (Adolfo Bioy Casares)

The Island of Dr. Moreau (Wells)

Kim (Kipling)

Memoirs From Beyond the Grave (Chateaubriand)

The Rule of Four (Doyle)

Elective Affinities (Goethe)

The Wind in the Willows

Don Quixote (Cervantes)

The Tartar Steppe (Dino Buzzati)

The Pillow Book (Sei Shonagon)

Surfacing (Margaret Atwood)

The Posthumous Memoirs of Bras Cubas (Joaquim Maria Machado De Assis)

So, essentially, a collection of eight world classics, several of which are "entertainments", one modern (ie. written in the last 50 years) novel, along with three relative obscurities. It goes almost without saying that the more of these you've read, the more likely you are to enjoy Manguel's ruminations of them. In sum, I have to admit that this is not at all the kind of writing I enjoy, but I know friends that would love it, and so it all comes down to personal taste. I did enjoy the profusion of lists that pop up in the book, as well as some odd little tidbits of history here and there and insights on the act of reading. I also found it rather amusing that one point, amidst all this rather high-culture rummaging, he mentions having read Thomas Harris's thriller "Hannibal" on the train.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A delightful year in a few hours 29 Jan. 2005
By Charlus - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Alberto Manguel has repeatedly shown himself to be good company to spend time with and this brief book only shores up that impression further. Each chapter is devoted to a different book he has read over the course of a year and the thoughts and associations that reading brings. It is part diary, part literary criticism, part commonplace book. For a man who has devoted himself to a lifetime of reading and writing, and who has lived an extraordinary global existence, the anecdotes and quotes he can pull together make for a enriching "conversation" spent in this man's company. A year's holiday for any reader, in the space of a few hours.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
A wonderfully well-read book 15 Jan. 2006
By Tanya Abramovitch - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Unlike other `Reading Year' books, this one is concerned with revisiting old literary friends. Manguel chooses a single book a month and, in diary form, relates it to his current activities and life parallels. He selects his titles in advance, an eclectic mix from all over the world.

This short book oozes with erudition, and Manguel liberally sprinkles excellent quotes, observations, lists, and anecdotes throughout the text, all the while contemplating the larger questions of home, justice, nostalgia, memory, and war, among others. This meandering but thoughtful recording of a year of the author's life is extremely well-done.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
`I like the idea of conversation being a window into one's heart or mind.' 24 May 2008
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback
While travelling in Canada, Alberto Manguel was struck by how the particular novel he was reading (Goethe's `Elective Affinities') seemed to reflect the social chaos of the world in which he was living. An article in a daily paper: a chance observation would suddenly be illuminated by a particular passage in the novel.

He decided to keep a record of such moments by rereading a novel each month and formed a volume of notes, of impressions and observations all elicited in some way by his reading.

This record has formed `A Reading Diary', and I think that many a reflective reader will enjoy it as much as I have. It matters not that I've not read many of the books referred to. I identify completely with the process of serendipity between the worlds we inhabit through reading and those we live in.

`We read what we want to read, not what the author wrote.'

This book is a delight: not just for what it contains but for the possibilities it unlocks.

This is the first of Alberto Manguel's books that I have read, and it most certainly won't be the last.

`This morning, I looked at the books on my shelves and thought that they had no knowledge of my existence. They come to life because I open them and turn their pages, and yet they don't know that I am their reader.'

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
careful reading 9 Jan. 2012
By Selena Hutchins - Published on
Format: Paperback
i've thought long and hard about how to better record the connections that i make and wish to make when i'm reading books. then i found out that alberto manguel had written part of that discussion for me.

on book summaries and giving away plots:

I don't like people summing up books for me. Tempt me with a title, a scene, a quotation, yes, but not with the whole story. Fellow enthousiasts, jacket blurbs, teachers and histories of literature destroy much of our reading pleasure by ratting on the plot.

on writing in books (something i've only recently allowed myself to do)

I always write in my books. When I reread them, most of the time I can't imagine why I thought a certain passage worth underlining, or what I meant by a certain comment.

and then, i found i liked his reading tastes, that he's read books i haven't heard of. i imagined that it wouldn't be interesting reading about books i haven't read, but the snippets that he gives are enough that i can get the gist of the novel (and decide if i should read it) and figure out the point he's trying to make.

i found out about francois-rene de chateaubriand and his book memoirs from beyond the grave. with one excerpt, i knew i wanted to read it.

There are people who, while empires collapse, visit fountains and gardens.

threads of chateaubriand come up throughout what i've read of the book so far, and they're related to manguel's life, memories, surroundings. he relates passages and texts to remember (much in the way that chateaubriand himself encourages and finds).

from chateaubriand:

Our existence is so fleeting that if we don't record the events of the morning in the evening, the work will weigh us down and we will no longer have the time to bring it up to date. This doesn't prevent us from wasting our years, from throwing to the wind those hours that are for us the seeds of eternity.

when the last section on chateaubriand came, i had already inquired about an english copy. and then another perfect sentence:

Reading Memoirs from Beyond the Grave, I forget that it is Chateaubriand, not I, who is mourning.

i'm was to october at this point with firm mind to read chateaubriand and more manguel. i had also figured out how he's managed to be so thoughtful about his reads, something i truly needed to learn to do myself. first, he's choosing books based on whims and wants. no reading schedules, really, just, going with the flow of things.

by the end of the book, he'd read 12 books, one per month, with some diaries, letters and related material read throughout to help write about the books and fully understand them. that's the kind of reading year i'd like for 2012. slow and thoughtful, unrushed.

I feel uncomfortable having other people's books at home. I want either to steal them or to return them immediately. There is something of the visitor who outstays his welcome in borrowed books. Reading them and knowing that they don't belong to me gives me the feeling of something unfinished, half-enjoyed. This is also true of library books.
Were these reviews helpful? Let us know

Look for similar items by category