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A Reader on Reading by [Manguel, Alberto]
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A Reader on Reading Kindle Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"'Books jump out of their jackets when Manguel opens them and dance in delight as they make contact with his ingenious, voluminous brain.' (Peter Conrad, The Observer) 'Manguel is a true polymath, and A Reader on Reading is a kind of a primer, or perhaps a masterclass. It's like listening to Barenboim on Beethoven... The range and complexity of Manguel's sympathies and readings is extensive and baroque.' (Ian Sansom, The Guardian) 'In reading, he realises that there are a thousand and one stories to be told about books, each narrative or anecodote leading to and from another, in an infinite progression... A Reader on Reading is an invitation to readers to enter into a world of wonders.' (Iain Finlayson, The Times) "'There are", writes Manguel, "certain books that, in themselves, are an ideal library." This book might be one of them.' (Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times) 'Manguel weaves his recollections into literary musings... his overall argument is compelling.' (Edward King, Sunday Times)"

About the Author

Alberto Manguel is one of the world's great readers. He is a member of PEN, a Guggenheim Fellow, and an Officer of the French Order of Arts and Letters. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Prix Medicis in essays for A History of Reading, and the McKitterick Prize for his novel News from a Foreign Country Came. Among his most recent books is The Library at Night, also published by Yale University Press. His work has been translated into more than thirty languages.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1396 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (18 Feb. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0038LB4GM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #632,279 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After leaving school, this being one of the few things school and I agreed on, I went into work, training as a comme chef, bypassing the higher education route for a fixed income and an escape from all things educational. So although my love of literature continued, even grew, it was without formal structure. In fact, it could quite easily be said that my route through literature was more of a paper chase, where one clue led to the next, or led me off on some strange/wild tangent - this solely depending on the degree of communication between myself and the last book read. Via this means, I discovered my path through the reading world, where one writer begat another, who begat another, who....., until, like some large shadow, this accumulation of the written word trailed behind me, to remain forever linked with some part of me, whether as a point in time, a recollection or, on a deeper level, as some elemental condition of who I am, and in the process became my personal library. This library, being the sum total of everything I've read.This lifetimes reading forms my key, my starting point, my guide and my level playing field, for everything I will read, and yet this is just one of the bibliotheca, a reader has at their disposal, and by reader I mean one such as myself, someone who believes books are:

not something you pick up between programmes;

as valid a form of nourishment as any protein/vitamin;

not merely entertainment (although it can be);

truth, even if the form taken is fiction.

"We come into the world intent on finding narrative in everything, in the landscape, in the skies, in the faces of others, and, of course, in the images and words that our species create".
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Another beautifully written series of meditations on the book and literary culture, including libraries (of course) and some highly entertaining swipes at Anglo-Saxon publishing. Manguel wears his breadth of reading lightly and refuses to engage in (for example) Deleuzian theoretical pyrotechnics, insisting - implicitly - on truth to feeling and perception. There is deep thinking here but not theory. The 'unhistoric act' of reading, for Manguel - to allude to Eliot's jaw-dropping banality-complexity trope at the end of *Middlemarch* - 'contributes to the growing good of the world' simply because reading is simple, dignified, absurd, rich, complex - in short, human. Readers find meaning - and make their own meanings - everywhere. I find Manguel excellent reading company, urbane and humane, a friend and not a preacher.

Only four stars here, though, compared with the wondrously seraphic and Browneian *Library at NIght* and the hardly less majestic *HIstory of Reading*. Why? Unfortunately this is a publisher's potboiler, recycling some old material (yes, most of which is very good). Manguel has worked hard, though, to bring everything together, rewriting and adding an epigraph from Carroll's Alice stories to each essay. The worst thing about it - leaving aside one or two leaden and sententious Guardian-style political assertions (as if the expression of worthy opinion ipso facto makes the world a better place) - is the title, which is deliberately mendacious. In Manguel's capable hands, a reader (especially Manguel) writing about reading would be a wonderful self-reflexive project, pulsing with life and intelligence. But this is not what this title is, though you can see the publishers nudging themselves in the ribs and congratulating themselves on being 'clever'.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Intelligent and a joy to read.
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Format: Hardcover
In the dying era of the book (see numerous books) the bookish are spoilt. I'm a sucker for essay collections (in England now the essay's believed dead; hah! - look west) and this one's sumptuous, scrumptious even; a veritable goody-bag -- and like a literary chocolate box there'll probably be one you leave till last (Don Quixote? ugh!) -- but it's mostly self-indulgence unless you're allergic to Alice who - cryptically, demurely and, it has to be said, pretty irrelevantly - serves as running epigraph, or frilly paper between the titbits.

The English intellectual doesn't know quite what to make of the rest of the world's infatuation with Alice. Is it that foreigners have never heard the word twee or simply that we absorbed Alice along with Moley and Milne with our mother's milk and therefore never consciously had to 'read' her? Or (perish the thought) is her appeal partly class-based and therefore somehow tarnished in the world Blair left us? Pooh has been 'democratized' (read: ruined) by Disney and The Wind in the Willows by the feeble stage version Toad of Toad Hall* (Toad's a SUBPLOT! It's like A Dance to the Music of Time being called Widmerpool. Next, Widmerpool! The Musical?) And what about the mortal blow dealt The Railway Children by that sugary film (yes I know everyone younger than me loves it and had a pash on Jenny A, but I remember the FIRST (live) TV adaptation of the early 50s - and how many of you out there have READ THE BOOK anyway?) Middle-class icons all - but in the past available (through our great libraries) to ALL children with the hunger. And then there's Alice, who has the inestimable advantage of being an independent female.
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