“The Library at Night”

January 30, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Books About Books, Nonfiction | 1 Comment

The Library at Night is destined to be a legend among books about books.  Alberto Manguel discusses every aspect of libraries that one could possibly think of, from the perspective of the lifetime collector.  The book is packed with illustration and library trivia about everything from the library of Alexandria to the Dewey Decimal System.

Manguel describes his constant reshuffling and organizing of his own library, something that is probably quite familiar to all of us.  He had the unbelievable luxury of being able to design and build an addition to his house just for his books – and when you see where it is, you’ll positively seethe with jealousy.  Imagine having unlimited time and space to play with your book collection!

Various questions come up about what makes a library.  Manguel has opinions about the digitizing and microfilming of archival materials and eliminating unused materials, for instance, that could be subject to much debate.  Myself, I believe there truly are materials with a built-in obsolescence, and thus it seems silly to devote space and maintenance to them.  Manguel has a more traditional book-lover’s regard for the printed page.

If you love books and being surrounded by them, check out The Library at Night.  You’re guaranteed to find out things you didn’t even realize you didn’t know.  You might even start thinking of books and libraries in a new way.

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  1. Great review! Sadly I always find Manguel kind of tedious reading but I did love the production of this book–all the photos in it were my favorite part!

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