hey, what did you guys do on your friday night? get drunk? get laid? spend a quiet evening with friends? see a fillum??
me? oh, i just sat at home, nur...more hey, what did you guys do on your friday night? get drunk? get laid? spend a quiet evening with friends? see a fillum??
me? oh, i just sat at home, nursing a sore back with painkillers, and decided to let my thoughts about cloud atlas percolate a little before writing a review for it, and decided to play a little booknerd game with myself. as part of my new year's resolution to finally get around to reviewing all the books on my "favorites" shelf, i scrolled through all of 'em until i came to the first "naked" one.
and here we are.
NO! IT IS WONDERFUL! ENVY ME MY FRIDAY NIGHTS!
this book is a must-have for booknerds. along with that nicholas basbanes book, it will get you well on your way to having the best book collection about books. like the one i have.
manguel approaches the concept of the library from all angles: the personal library, the library as institution, the architecture of the library, libraries lost to burning or time, "imaginary" libraries. and all told in this wonderfully anecdotal way that feels so familiar to anyone who appreciates books-as-objects.
i wrote a really long review of this earlier and accidentally deleted it (i blame the painkillers, truly) so i am going to let this book speak for itself.
-we dream of a library of literature created by everyone and belonging to no one, a library that is immortal and will mysteriously lend order to the universe, and yet we know that every orderly choice, every catalogued realm of the imagination, sets up a tyrannical hierarchy of exclusion. every library is exclusionary, since its selection, however vast, leaves outside its walls endless shelves of writing that, for reasons of taste, knowledge, space, and time, have not been included. every library conjures up its own dark ghost. every ordering sets up, in its wake, a shadow library of absences.
-i have no feeling of guilt regarding the books i have not read and perhaps will never read; i know that my books have unlimited patience. they will wait for me till the end of my days
-yet one fearful characteristic of the physical world tempers any optimism that a reader may feel in any ordered library: the constraints of space. it has always been my experience that, whatever groupings i choose for my books, the space in which i plan to lodge them necessarily reshapes my choice and, more important, in no time proves too small for them and forces me to change my arrangement. in a library, no empty shelf remains empty for long. like nature, libraries abhor a vacuum, and the problem of space is inherent in the very nature of any collection of books. this is the paradox presented by every general library: that if, to a lesser or greater extent, it intends to accumulate and preserve as comprehensive as possible a record of the world, then ultimately its task must be redundant, since it can only be satisfied when the library's borders coincide with those of the world itself. in my adolescence, i remember watching with a kind of fascinated horror, how night after night the shelves on the wall of my room would fill up, apparently on their own, until no promissory nooks were left. new books, lying flat as in the earliest codex libraries, would begin to pile up one on top of the other. old books, occupying their measured place during the day, would double and quadruple in volume and keep any newcomers at bay. all around me - on the floor, in the corners, under the bed, on my desk - columns of books would slowly rise and transform the space into a saprophyte forest, its sprouting trunks threatening to crowd me out. later, in my home in toronto, i put up bookshelves just about everywhere - in bedrooms and kitchen, corridors and bathroom. even the covered porch had its shelves, so that my children complained that they felt they required a library card to enter their own home
i was going to type out the rest of that paragraph, but it was so peppered with diacritical marks that my un-computer-savvy self balked. but know that it is adorable. and this gives you incentive to seek it out for yourself.
this book needs to be read. read it.
i am going to, again.
but now i am going to run away before i accidentally delete this one, too. new year's resolution - i am on my way to you!(less)
i dunno - this book isnt as cute/clever as it thinks it is. maybe if i were one of the adults-who-read-harry-potter, i would have a better understandi...morei dunno - this book isnt as cute/clever as it thinks it is. maybe if i were one of the adults-who-read-harry-potter, i would have a better understanding of it, but as it happens, i am not. i expected something more book-dorky, but it was just like reading a childrens adventure story. meh.(less)
i liked this. there was a time while i was reading it when i liked it very much. i dunno - i dont read a lot of mysteries/procedural genre books (that...morei liked this. there was a time while i was reading it when i liked it very much. i dunno - i dont read a lot of mysteries/procedural genre books (thats what teevee is for) so i dont know if this is typical. i found it slow at the start, then i got caught up in the momentum and i was really enjoying it, and then by the end my enjoyment had tapered off back into a more tepid liking of it. verdict: high three. (less)
i have a long and troubled relationship with the russians. for years i didnt want to read them, because i felt that i wouldnt understand them with the...morei have a long and troubled relationship with the russians. for years i didnt want to read them, because i felt that i wouldnt understand them with their troubled political history, their interchangeable names, their fucking ability to endure that is so intimidating and making-me-small-feeling. and then i read bulgakov. and i felt a little more confident.... then i got a little older and i thought... maybe im ready for some dostoevsky... and then i wondered what i had been so worried about, because it was all so accessible. then in my twenties i read kurkov, solzhenitsyn, nabokov, makine, zamyatin, chekhov... i have been around the russian block, my friends... and yet... theres still this barrier between us. i feel like there is so much subtext i am just missing... that unless you are russian, there is something gently exclusionary about the writing - that you could know all there is to know about russia and its history and its peoples and still - this is not intended for you. anyway, this book was very good but im sure that a real russian would appreciate it in some more deeply personal way than i ever could. (less)
nicholas christopher has written one of my favorite books (trip to the stars) and one of my least favorite books (veronica) and this one is right in t...morenicholas christopher has written one of my favorite books (trip to the stars) and one of my least favorite books (veronica) and this one is right in the middle. it starts out very strong; i thought it was going to be a sweeping family drama in the vein of middlesex or piano mans daughter, but then there was a turn and there were too many little quirks and weaknesses in the writing that bothered me. there were tons of cameo characters who entered, were overdescribed, and then wandered away from the narrative never to return. too many loose ends where formerly important characters just faded out. too many instances where declarations were made like "but he never would see her again", or "little did he know then what an influence this would have"... (this is known as katherine neville syndrome)its good but it makes me wonder why of all his books, its trip to the stars that is out of print. come on!(less)
this book has saved me on a number of occasions. when my mind goes blank, or i realize maybe i dont know any mongolian fiction... its way shorter than...morethis book has saved me on a number of occasions. when my mind goes blank, or i realize maybe i dont know any mongolian fiction... its way shorter than i would have liked, but it does well at filling in the gaps of my knowledge when im put on the spot. because i am good at what i do, but not perfect.(and, yes, i said it)(less)
in the future this book will make sense to no one. it will have to be re-named the incredible kindle-eating boy. i wrote this review only to prove tha...morein the future this book will make sense to no one. it will have to be re-named the incredible kindle-eating boy. i wrote this review only to prove that even when i take a break from paper-writing to read a childrens book, i am still on-topic mentally. so give me an a please...(less)
this was fine. i think i expected it to be a little more grown-up than it was. in many ways i am a huge infant, but not so much in my reading, unless...morethis was fine. i think i expected it to be a little more grown-up than it was. in many ways i am a huge infant, but not so much in my reading, unless its reeeally young reader picture books. but this had some nice reimaginings of traditional fairy tales, and it certainly doesnt take long to read, so i recommend to those adults that are already reading the harry potters and twilights. you babies!(less)