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About Alberto Manguel
Internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor, Alberto Manguel is the bestselling author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading. He was born in Buenos Aires, moved to Canada in 1982 and now lives in France, where he was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre français des Arts et des Lettres.
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In June 2015 Alberto Manguel prepared to leave his centuries-old village home in France’s Loire Valley and reestablish himself in a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Packing up his enormous, 35,000†‘volume personal library, choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel found himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books and readers, books and collectors, order and disorder, memory and reading. In this poignant and personal reevaluation of his life as a reader, the author illuminates the highly personal art of reading and affirms the vital role of public libraries.
Manguel’s musings range widely, from delightful reflections on the idiosyncrasies of book lovers to deeper analyses of historic and catastrophic book events, including the burning of ancient Alexandria’s library and contemporary library lootings at the hands of ISIS. With insight and passion, the author underscores the universal centrality of books and their unique importance to a democratic, civilized, and engaged society.
In this major collection of his essays, Alberto Manguel, whom George Steiner has called “the Casanova of reading,” argues that the activity of reading, in its broadest sense, defines our species. “We come into the world intent on finding narrative in everything,” writes Manguel, “landscape, the skies, the faces of others, the images and words that our species create.” Reading our own lives and those of others, reading the societies we live in and those that lie beyond our borders, reading the worlds that lie between the covers of a book are the essence of A Reader on Reading.
The thirty-nine essays in this volume explore the crafts of reading and writing, the identity granted to us by literature, the far-reaching shadow of Jorge Luis Borges, to whom Manguel read as a young man, and the links between politics and books and between books and our bodies. The powers of censorship and intellectual curiosity, the art of translation, and those “numinous memory palaces we call libraries” also figure in this remarkable collection. For Manguel and his readers, words, in spite of everything, lend coherence to the world and offer us “a few safe places, as real as paper and as bracing as ink,” to grant us room and board in our passage.
As far as one can tell, human beings are the only species for which the world seems made up of stories, Alberto Manguel writes. We read the book of the world in many guises: we may be travelers, advancing through its pages like pilgrims heading toward enlightenment. We may be recluses, withdrawing through our reading into our own ivory towers. Or we may devour our books like burrowing worms, not to benefit from the wisdom they contain but merely to stuff ourselves with countless words.
With consummate grace and extraordinary breadth, the best-selling author of A History of Reading and The Library at Night considers the chain of metaphors that have described readers and their relationships to the text-that-is-the-world over a span of four millennia. In figures as familiar and diverse as the book-addled Don Quixote and the pilgrim Dante who carries us through the depths of hell up to the brilliance of heaven, as well as Prince Hamlet paralyzed by his learning, and Emma Bovary who mistakes what she has read for the life she might one day lead, Manguel charts the ways in which literary characters and their interpretations reflect both shifting attitudes toward readers and reading, and certain recurrent notions on the role of the intellectual: "We are reading creatures. We ingest words, we are made of words. . . . It is through words that we identify our reality and by means of words that we ourselves are identified."
Alberto Manguel, in a style both charming and erudite, examines how literary characters live with us from childhood on. Throughout the years, they change their identities and emerge from behind their stories to teach us about the complexities of love, loss, and the world itself. Manguel’s favorite characters include Jim from Huckleberry Finn, Phoebe from The Catcher in the Rye, Job and Jonah from the Bible, Little Red Riding Hood and Captain Nemo, Hamlet’s mother, and Dr. Frankenstein’s maligned Monster. Sharing his unique powers as a reader, Manguel encourages us to establish our own literary relationships. An intimate preface and Manguel’s own “doodles” complete this delightful and magical book.
How can you tell if your neighbour is speaking Muslim? Is a mosque a kind of hedgehog? Can I get fries with that burka? You can't trust the media any longer, but there's no need to fret: Don't Panic, I'm Islamic provides you with the answers.
Read this book to learn how you too can spot an elusive Islamist. Discover how Arabs (even 21-year-old, largely innocuous and totally adorable ones) plant bombs and get tips about how to interact with Homeland Security, which may or may not involve funny discussions about your sexuality.
Commissioned in response to the US travel ban, Don’t Panic, I’m Islamic includes cartoons, graffiti, photography, colouring in pages, memoir, short stories and more by 34 contributors from around the world. Provocative and at times laugh-out-loud funny, these subversive pieces are an explosion of expression, creativity and colour.
Contributors: Hassan Abdulrazzak, Leila Aboulela, Amrou Al-Kadhi, Shadi Alzaqzouq, Chant Avedissian, Tammam Azzam, Bidisha, Chaza Charafeddine, Molly Crabapple, Carol Ann Duffy, Moris Farhi, Negin Farsad, Joumana Haddad, Saleem Haddad, Hassan Hajjaj, Omar Hamdi, Jennifer Jajeh, Sayed Kashua, Mazen Kerbaj, Arwa Mahdawi, Sabrina Mahfouz, Alberto Manguel, Esther Manito, Aisha Mirza, James Nunn, Chris Riddell, Hazem Saghieh, Rana Salam, Karl Sharro, Laila Shawa, Bahia Shehab, Sjón, Eli Valley, Alex Wheatle.
In All Men Are Liars, Alberto Manguel pays homage to literature’s inventions and explores whether we can ever truly know someone, and the question of how, by whom, and for what, we ourselves will be remembered.
As Stevenson's meetings with the tantalizingly nebulous missionary become increasingly strange, a series of crimes against the native population sours the atmosphere. With its playful nod to Stevenson's life and work Manguel has woven an intoxicating tale in which fantasy infiltrates reality.