A Reading Diary

Front Cover
Knopf Canada, Feb 4, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 272 pages
The must-have literary book of the season! Over the course of a year, the bestselling author of A History of Reading spends a month with each of his 12 favourite books, allowing us to observe both the heart of the reading experience and how life around us can be illuminated by what we read.

From June 2002 to may 2003, Alberto Manguel set out to reread twelve of the books he likes best, and to share with us, his “gentle readers,” his impressions and experiences in doing so. We travel with him as he leaves Canada to set up house in a medieval presbytery in France, visits his childhood home in Argentina and embarks on trips to various other places, always carrying a book in his hand.

The result is an immensely enjoyable collection for every lover of reading — something between an intimate diary, a collection of literary thoughts, and the best travel memoir. A Reading Diary ranges from reflections on much-loved writers — Margaret Atwood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, H. G. Wells, Cervantes — to seductive introductions to others about whom you will want to know more, such as Sei Shonagon and Adolfo Bioy Casares, simultaneously providing insights into the world of today, its changing seasons and pleasures, its shifting politics and wars — all illuminated by the great novel he is reading at the time.

A Reading Diary is a walk through a year’s worth of best beloved books in the company of an eclectically learned friend. Touching on themes of home and wandering, memory and loss, Alberto Manguel perfectly traces the threads between our reading and our lived experience.

Excerpt from A Reading Diary:
We have been in our house in France for just over a year, and already I have to leave, to visit my family in Buenos Aires. I don’t want to go. I want to enjoy the village in summer, the garden, the house kept cool by the thick ancient walls. I want to start setting up the books on the shelves we have just had built. I want to sit in my room and work.

On the plane, I pull out a copy of Adolfo Bioy Casares’s The Invention of Morel, the tale of a man stranded on an island that is apparently inhabited by ghosts, a book I read for the first time thirty, thirty-five years ago. . . .

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User Review  - Cheryl_in_CC_NV - LibraryThing

Got through it, with a lot of skimming. An apt & revealing sample from a bit in which Manguel lists evaluations of memoirs: "Auden, quoting an Icelandic proverb: 'Every man enjoys the smell of his own farts.'" Read full review


Part One2002
JuneThe Invention of Morel
JulyThe Island of Dr Moreau
SeptemberMemoirs from Beyond the Grave
OctoberThe Sign of Four
NovemberElective Affinities
Part Two2003
JanuaryDon Quixote
FebruaryThe Tartar Steppe
MarchThe PillowBook
MayThe Posthumous Memoirs of Brás Cubas

DecemberThe Wind in the Willows

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About the author (2011)

Internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist and editor, Alberto Manguel is the author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading. He was born in Buenos Aires, became a Canadian citizen in 1982, and now lives in France, where he was named an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters. His most recent book is Stevenson Under the Palm Trees.

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