A Reader on Reading

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Aug 22, Steven Buechler rated it it was amazing. This notion of why we read is a puzzling one. As oppose to other people who talk and scream and yell all the time, why do we quietly seek out quiet corners in the world to read? Alberto Manguel brilliantly explores that notion in his book A Reader on Reading. Page ix - Preface The subject of this book, as of almost all my other books, is reading, that most human of creative activities. I believe that we are, at the core, reading animals and that the art of reading, in its broadest sense, defines This notion of why we read is a puzzling one.

I believe that we are, at the core, reading animals and that the art of reading, in its broadest sense, defines our species. We come into the world intent of 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 creates.

We read our own lives and those of others, we read the societies we live in and those that lie beyond our borders, we read pictures and buildings, we read that which lies between the covers of a book. Manguel is brilliant in documenting the love of reading as I have mentioned in other posts and this book is no exception. His mixture of facts and personal anecdotes makes any written exploration that he does worth reading.

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Sep 14, Arcadia rated it liked it. Personal approach to the art of reading. Manguel undertakes the daunting task of laying out why, what and how we read. Pretty interesting due to the personal anecdotes littered throughout the essays, written intelligently and engagingly. As with the other Manguel essay I've read this summer, I'm once again in awe of this man's knowledge, I learned something new on every page. Notwithstanding, reading 40,50, however many, essays on reading does become dreary after a while and my eyes did occasion Personal approach to the art of reading.

Notwithstanding, reading 40,50, however many, essays on reading does become dreary after a while and my eyes did occasionally blur over the words I was reading.


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Oct 18, Merri rated it really liked it. Sigh, I really was enjoying the theme of Alice in Wonderland, mixed with Manguel's own thoughts and opinions on reading. It was inspired and funny, holding me rapt in its educational undercurrent. Unfortunately, due to a need for others to share my joy, the library has commanded its return- sigh so it has been returned. A shame, but one I hope to rectify in future.

Nov 09, Elena Sala rated it it was amazing Shelves: essays , literary-criticism. This is a lovely collection of essays written by Alberto Manguel, and erudite and omnivorous reader. Manguel loves Borges and Dante, so some essays are devoted to his love for these authors. But mostly he reflects on his love of reading. This is a book which merits several readings. Some great essays. A little something for everyone. As long as everyone likes references to classical novels and offhanded comments about speaking numerous languages.

Jun 04, Carol added it. As good as The Library at Night--this is a delicious book with so many original insights. Jul 30, Sbpom added it. The pleasure of being in one's own library surrounded by one's own books.

Home - The Reader

Oct 23, Nikoleta rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction , books-about-books. I somehow missed the part that this was a series of essays spanning almost 20 years and so while reading I found it very disjointed. I would be very interested in a couple of chapters and then it would completely lose me.

I found this book started and ended very strong but the middle just didn't grab me at all even though they were beautifully written. Sometimes they would fit, sometimes they wouldn't I somehow missed the part that this was a series of essays spanning almost 20 years and so while reading I found it very disjointed.


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  6. Sometimes they would fit, sometimes they wouldn't and it seemed as if a lot of the quotes were being forced in. I did really enjoy "The Library at Home" essay. My library has changed a lot since it first began. I have purged and given away a lot and somehow accumulated even more and so I found one passage to especially resonate with me, "Every time I would ask myself how it happened, this exuberant accumulation of paper and ink that once again would cover my walls like ivy. Manguel mentioned he had a sudden surgery and only had one book on him with no time to prepare.

    I have recently been spending a lot of time in the hospital and this is actually something I have thought about a lot.

    I even have a stack of easy reading books at home so if I do end up needing an extended stay I can send someone to get them. Kind of weird now that I've admitted to it though. There is also a lot of mention of ebooks versus print in this essay. I went from only reading print to only reading on an ereader to now mostly reading print. After experiencing some health issues I have taken to slowing down and establishing a weekly library trip which has helped me immensely, something I can't get by just purchasing or borrowing straight from my e-reader but that is not to say that I enjoyed books any less in one format or another and I will continue to utilize both.

    This last essay is quite bleak and I don't really agree that reading electronically is the death of reading and that we cannot fully understand, absorb or criticize information we have read on a screen, "especially young people" or that it has taken away any learning abilities. As a whole, I was most engrossed in The Numinous Library" section and it was a great way to end things off. This book is full of food for thought and the experience of reading it is definitely enhanced if you take the time to ponder each essay after reading it.

    It is beautifully written driven by a true passion. There are a lot of politically charged essays which I did not expect to be reading and wasn't overly invested in them. This was my first Alberto Manguel book and will definitely be looking into other books by him as his writing truly is wonderful. Jun 28, Pierre rated it really liked it. Good literary criticism makes you want to read more: the best shows you that you have to, that humanity is in reading, and the book is the tool. Some essays are skippable, others are mandatory for anyone who has ever felt the warm magic of a bookshop without quite understanding why.

    May 23, Maha Abed rated it really liked it. The solitary nature of reading scrutinised in a variety of ways I liked it. Jul 12, Anna rated it really liked it Shelves: books-about-books , nonfiction. I do love Alberto Manguel reflections on reading, although I get accused of being too meta when friends and family catch me with his books.

    Certain passages are also familiar from 'A History of Reading'. These repetitions ar I do love Alberto Manguel reflections on reading, although I get accused of being too meta when friends and family catch me with his books. These repetitions are not onerous, nonetheless I withhold the fifth star on the basis of not being completely new to me.

    These range over historical, social, cultural, and personal topics, sometimes with a narrow focus on a single author or incident. Each is beautifully crafted and thoughtful. I may spend plenty of time on the internet not least browsing goodreads , but find that reading books opens my mind and generates ideas in a way that surfing the net does not. The two experiences are very different and I would definitely choose a library of books over my laptop, if I had to pick only one. Like me, Manguel does not dismiss the means that technology provide for access to literature and information, he merely defends books as having their own importance.

    How to Grow a Reader

    They have not been superceded, merely supplemented. In fact, the internet has been a great boon to my personal search for new books to read. Being able to search library catalogues from home is fantastic! This is the second book I read by Alberto Manguel and I am well pleased. In a very artistic, at times political and at other times spiritual, he helps broaden the understanding of what reading is all about as well as its impact on the reader.

    I wasn't thrilled with the fact that every chapter was introduced by a quote on Alice's Adventure in Wonderland, in part because it didn't always fit the content of the chapter and in part because I still haven't grown enough to fully appreciate fiction. However, the implicid correlations were rich and challenging throughout. He writes on how the world and reading is so self-revealatory. He continues to give the reader more to ruminate on regarding reality.

    Correlating a mythical figure such as Perseus with a historical one, Moses, to illustrate that "reality, the place in which we stand, cannot be seen as long as we are in it. It is the process of "once removed " through imagery, through allusion, throug plot that allows us to see where and who we are. Dios mio, that is food for thought!

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