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The Library at Night

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  2,939 ratings  ·  497 reviews
Inspired by creating a library for his fifteenth-century home near the Loire, in France, the author tours from his childhood bookshelves to the Internet, from Ancient Egypt and Greece to the Arab world, from China and Rome to Google. He ponders the doomed library of Alexandria and personal libraries of Charles Dickens, Jorge Luis Borges, and others.

He recounts stories of
Hardcover, 373 pages
Published April 29th 2008 by Yale University Press (first published January 2006)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,939 ratings  ·  497 reviews

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Jeffrey Keeten
May 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-on-books
”When evening comes,” he wrote, “I return home and go into my study. On the threshold I strip off my muddy, sweaty, workday clothes, and put on the robes of court and palace, and in this graver dress I enter the antique courts of the ancients and am welcomed by them, and there I taste the food that alone is mine, for which I was born. There I make bold to speak to them and ask the motives for their actions, and they, in their humanity reply to me. And for the course of four hours I forget the wo ...more
Huda Yahya

كلّ واحد من كتبي هرب
إمّا من النار أو الماء أو غبار الزمن
أو من القراء المهملين أو يد الرقيب
وأتى إلى هنا كي يحكي لي قصّته

كل واحد من كتبي له قصة
وكلها تحكي رحلتي المتواضعة مع القراءة
كلها تعبر عني وعن حقيقتي
شغفي ،، تدرجي في معرفة الكتب المفيدة ،، آثار مراهقتي الفكرية ومحاولاتي البائسة كي أنضج وأتعلم
ذكريات ليال قضيتها أنا وكتبي أحاول الهرب من كل ما حولي والغرق في الصفحات المضيئة والعوالم السحرية ،، حالتي المادية ،،ونوعية الكتب التي هربت وأتت إلي من سور الأزبكية تصاحبها إصدارا
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spanish-american
Paradise in Danger

The Library at Night is my Bible, Quran and Vedic guide on the aesthetics of this somewhat odd institution called the library. Odd because the concept of a warehouse filled with printed volumes available for general consultation is a rather late development in European civilisation, and odd because it is a concept that seems to have run its course as that civilisation becomes more technological. For this latter reason alone Manguel's aesthetic observations are critical: someth
Alberto Manguel understands you.

He knows that you look at your shelves at night, remembering a favorite passage, or how you acquired a book, as your gaze moves across titles on spines in the moonlight.

He sympathizes with your attempts to figure out new ways to organize your books, a task that becomes more urgent and, at the same time, more impossible as time passes and your collection grows outside the spatial boundaries of your shelves, or perhaps even of your home.

He understands your frustrat

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
Riku Sayuj

Dreaming The Perfect LIBRARY

The Quest & The Question

The starting point, Manguel says is a question. Few today can doubt that the main features of our universe are its dearth of meaning and lack of discernible purpose.

And yet, with bewildering optimism, we continue to assemble whatever scraps of information we can gather in scrolls and books and computer chips, on shelf after library shelf, whether material, virtual or otherwise, pathetically intent on lending the world a semblance of sense
Nov 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I once dreamt an entire novel. It was brilliant - a mystery replete with private eyes, conniving crooks, and a plot line convoluted by betrayals and double-agentry galore. It was vivid. I woke up wondering where I was, which almost never happens, groggy and disoriented. It was difficult to gauge my place in reality. This dream had really enveloped my mind. I got out of bed and looked for a notebook so that I could take notes, but as I did so, the memory of the dream collapsed in on itself like a ...more
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, favorites
This is the best book to finish the year with.
I have read many great novels this year, but of all of them this last one has become a true friend, one I hope will remain by my bedside, to comfort and inspire me when darkness rules outside my shelter.

Review to follow. Until then, here's a few of the many quotes I saved :

But at night, when the library lamps are lit, the outside world disappears and nothing but this space of books remains in existence. To someone standing outside, in the garden, th
Lynne King
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The library in which I have at long last collected my books began life as a barn sometime in the fifteen century, perched on a small hill south of the Loire. Here, in the last years before the Christian era, the Romans erected a temple to Dionysus to honour the god of this wine-producing area; twelve centuries later, a Christian church replaced the god of drunken ecstasy with the god who turned his blood into wine… .

What a splendid beginning to a book about libraries. But Alberto Mangruel now he
فهد الفهد
المكتبة في الليل

لم أفهم حتى الآن كيف يمكن للكتٌاب الكتابة عن كل شيء، ثم لا يكتبون عن الكتب ذاتها، عن ما ينتجونه، عن ما يربطنا بهم حقاً، لكل مؤلف قصة مع الكتب، كيف يقرؤها ! وكيف يكتبها ! ولكنهم للأسف قليلاً ما يكتبون عن هذا، يتركون هذه المهمة لمن سيكتبون سيرتهم فيما بعد عندما يشيخون، أو ربما بعدما يموتون.

المكتبة كذلك تلقى ذات الإهمال، نادراً ما نقرأ عنها، كأنما نبت كل هؤلاء المؤلفين بلا كتب، كأنما ولدت في أفواههم الكلمات، ولم يرضعوها منذ الصغر من خلال عشرات وربما مئات الكتب، ولكن حظنا كقراء عرب
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
بعد قراءة هذا الكتاب فكل منا سيرى مكتبته بشكل مغاير و سيجري بينه و بين كتبه حوار من نوع آخر فيه من الشكر الكثير و من الاستفسارات الكثير عن كل ذكرى رافقت كتابا ما و عن التفاصيل الصغيرة التي يضمها نفَس كل كتاب...
كتاب جعل منه البرتو مانغيل موسوعة مصغرة لأهم المكاتب في العالم لكن بشكل شخصي يرتبط بالأفراد ممتع الحديث .عن الكتب عن الورق في ظل التكنولوجيا الحديثة .
Lyn Elliott
Alberto Manguel has created a life space for himself in which he can read, muse on reading and books and write about them to share his musings. Libraries are complex beings. Most of us have our own collections of books, but would we call them libraries? Manguel can, he has built a large room specifically to house his collection, and where he likes to read at night, in a carefully contrived pool of light, surrounded by shadows and books.
But if you're like us, we have books in unmatched shelves i
Oct 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"... não busco nenhuma revelação, pois tudo o que me é dito é necessariamente limitado pelo que sou capaz de ouvir e entender. Nem busco conhecimento além daquele que, de algum modo secreto, já possuo. Nem iluminação, a que não posso razoavelmente aspirar. Nem experiência, pois, em última instância, só posso ter consciência do que já está dentro de mim. Então que procuro eu no fim da história da minha biblioteca?
Consolação, talvez. Talvez consolação."

Sempre que ouço falar de um livro sobre livro
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who loves books and reading this book will probably be delightful. I'm pretty sure that except for the intricacies of cataloging books (and how to be king of the file clerks in a company, something I'm going to forget I ever had the misfortune to learn as soon as the class is over, so we'll ignore that) everything I've learned in my 3 semesters of Library School is in this book, and generally presented in a much more enjoyable manner than any of the things I've been required to read s ...more
بثينة العيسى
كتاب ساحر وعالمه قريب من القلب.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mae
O início foi lento, ao fim de 4-5 páginas, dava comigo a bocejar, e uma ou outra vez cheguei mesmo a adormecer… Mas a certa altura, para aí a partir da página 30 ou 40, alguma coisa aconteceu (ainda não percebi bem o quê, mas o mais provável é ter sido a minha disposição que mudou), e o livro foi-se tornando cada vez mais interessante. As últimas páginas, então, praticamente voaram. A Biblioteca à Noite, é uma homenagem aos livros e às bibliotecas, começando pela do próprio autor. Percorre a his ...more
Hameed Younis
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
الكتاب مضر للجيب بصورة رهيبة، فما ان تقرأه حتى تصاب بوسواس شرائي مبالغ به لجميع الكتب الموجودة في العالم
لذا اقتضى التنويه
Paul Secor
P. 72 - "To compensate for the deficient planning of the new main San Francisco Public Library, in which the architect had not allowed for a sufficiently large amount of shelving space, the administrators pulled hundreds of thousands (my italics) of books from the library's hold and sent them to a landfill. Since books were selected for destruction on the basis of the length of time they had sat unrequested, in order to save as many books as possible, heroic librarians crept into the stacks at n ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Great book although not a lot of new things if you've read any history of libraries. I was reminded of a book that brought me to tears - A Universal History of the Destruction of Books: From Ancient Sumer to Modern-Day Iraq - although Manguel also looks at positive events in book and library history. He also talks about building his own library.

The book is organized by topic - library at night, library as space, library as power - I found these topics to be more accessible than a typical histor
Dema Jado
Mar 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
بعض الكتب تتبادل أدوارها معنا، تقرؤنا بدلا من أن نقرأها نحن :)
هذه الكتب من الصعب التحدث عنها، تقف حائرا وعقلك يقلب أفكاره، لا تدري بماذا تعبر عما قرأته وعشته في رحلة القراءة.

لن أقول شيئا عن الكتاب سوى : إن كنت من الذين يحبون الثرثرة عن الكتب والمكتبات - وعادة لن تجد شخصا يتحمل أن يستمع إلى كل هذا الكم الهائل من الكلمات؛ لأنك تكون في قمة السعادة وعيونك تلمع كمن يتحدث عن محبوبته - .. ستجد ضالتك هنا D:


" أنا لا أبحث عن وحي من أي نوع، ولا أبحث عن معرفة أكثر من تلك التي بطريقة سرية
Adam Floridia
This is a book I'm tempted to add to my "Favorites" list, an honor even more prestigious than my "5-star-books" list. It's not that I don't have a few complaints about the book, but this may just have been the perfect book at the perfect time for me. Recently, Life (new job, new baby mainly) has been inhibiting my regular-reading and, dare I say, my ability to become absorbed in a good book, all of which has caused my book-a-week pace to fall to a pathetic book-or-two-a-month pace. That is why I ...more
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"في الليل يتغيّر الجوّ وتصبح الأصوات مكتومة والأفكار يصير صوتها أعلى. الوقت يبدو أقرب إلى تلك اللحظة في منتصف الطريق بين اليقظة والنوم. بِرَك الضوء التي تتسرّب من المصابيح تشعرني بالدفء. وفي رائحة الرفوف الخشبية وعطر المسك المنبعث من الأغلفة الجلدية ما يكفي لتهدئة الأعصاب وإعداد الإنسان نفسه للنوم".

في مثل هذه الأجواء...يجلس مانغويل برفقة كتبه في مكتبته التي يعود تاريخ بنائها للقرن الخامس عشر الميلادي...ليحدثنا عن تاريخ المكتبات ومقتنياتها من الكتب ومؤسسيها...طارقا أبوابا تاريخية أتعرف عليها للمر
Nov 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Otis
The greatest thing about any online site or program that allows a reader to create virtual shelves for books is that it allows the reader to create virtual shelves for books. If you have a library, a private library, than you know the contrasting feeling of joy of rearranging the books but also the terror of doing it. But you also know the joy of being surrounded by your books.
This is a book about books en masse for people who own them in masse. If you have two books, this is not the book for y
Sep 05, 2016 rated it liked it
It is imperative that I state you should dismiss my ratings when it comes to Manguel. It is personal as I find myself largely inept at comprehending the various references he makes. His knowledge is impressive and powerful and his understanding of literature infused with history even more so. With him, I have to research on the net as well but that's something I don't mind putting an effort into because this man doesn't ramble pompously about. Alberto Manguel delivers:-

"The power of readers lies

اللقاء الثالث مع البرتو مانغويل .. هذا المثقف العاشق للكتب مثلنا ..
مانغويل .. تبهرني دائما ثقافته العالية ومعلوماته الكثيرة ورحلاته المتنوعة .. واحسده كثيرا علي ما عاصره وشاهده وما صادفه في حياته من مشاهير تقابل معهم ودخل منازلهم وقرأ في مكتباتهم الخاصة ، وشاهدهم بعينيه يتجولون ويكتبون ويقراون .. وخاصة ما شاهده مع بورخيس ..
فما إحساسه وهو يجلس في مكتبة بورخيس الخاصة ؟
وما سيكون إحساسك إنت لو إنك مكانه .. تقلب بيديك في مكتبته وتجلس بجانبه وجها لوجه ؟
حقا، ماذا ستريد أكثر من ذلك ؟؟
أكثر ما أعجبني
Hidaya HK
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ثاني كتاب أقرأه لألبرتو مانغويل.
أول كتاب كان مدينة الكلمات وامتنعت عن تقييمه لأني شعرت أنني يجب أن أعيد قراءته عندما أكون قد طوّرت مستوى قراءتي في المستقبل إن شاء الله.
والحال تقريباً نفسه مع هذا الكتاب، لأنه أيضاً يعتبر للقراء المحترفين والخائضين عميقاً وبعيداً في رفوف الكتب والمكتبات الأكثر بعداً. لكنني حقاً أحببته ولمستني العديد من المقاطع فيه وأضاف لي معلومات كثيرة وأسماء مؤلفين وكتب أتمنى أن أقرأهم يوماً ما جميعهم.
لكن هذا لا ينفي أنني تأكدت الآن تماماً أنَّ كتب منغويل للقرَّاء المحترفين وأنن
May 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
من حين لآخر أحب أن أبتعد عن عالم الروايات والقصص الخيالي وأبحث عن السحر في كتب أخرى ... وأركز على سحر المعرفة والإكتشاف ... وياله من سحر هذا الذي يحتويه هذا الكتاب ! عالم يحيا بداخل كل قاريء .... هذا الكتاب عن المكتبات والكتب عن الشغف بهما منذ قديم الأزل

الكتاب يتتبع تاريخ المكتبات وبالضرورة الكتب ... يتتبع الكوارث التي حلت ببعض المكتبات وكذلك الكتب

لن أقف عند تقسيم الكتاب ولن اتحدث عن كل الفصول ... فقط سأتحدث عن مشاعري وقت القراءة ... أنا زوجة وأم وقصتي مع العودة لشغفي القديم بالقراءة يعلما تقر
مازال ألبرتو مثل كتابه السابق (تاريخ القراءة) يستحضر التاريخ ، وإن كان في كتابه هذا قد انطلق من تاريخه الخاص وتجربته الشخصية إلى التاريخ العام للحضارات كلها،،
ويشهد هذا الكتاب حضور شخصيات الحضارة الإسلامية أكثر من كتابه السابق.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Um livro ideal para os bibliófilos, que analisa o livro, a biblioteca, a leitura.
Na impossibilidade de transcrever aqui todas as partes que adorei, deixo uma que me tocou particularmente ao coração:
"A nossa sociedade olha para o livro como um dado adquirido, mas o acto de ler - outrora considerado útil e importante,
assim como potencialmente perigoso e subversivo - é agora condescendentemente aceite como um passatempo, um passatempo vagaroso desprovido de eficiência e que não contribui para o b
Dec 30, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crit
In my fool hardy youth, when my friends were dreaming of heroic deeds in the realms of engineering and law, finance and national politics, I dreamt of becoming a librarian.

I did not, but have always felt safe there, even when I walked into the bottom of a concrete staircase and was nearly knocked unconscious. There's unfortunately something mercenary about me. I love used bookstores more. I also leer at the books of other people when I am in their homes.

Manguel spends excessive time with the ph
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Alberto Manguel (born 1948 in Buenos Aires) is an Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor. He is the author of numerous non-fiction books such as The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (co-written with Gianni Guadalupi in 1980) and A History of Reading (1996) The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008), and novels such as News From a Foreign Country Came (1991). ...more
“In the light, we read the inventions of others; in the darkness we invent our own stories. ” 148 likes
“In my fool hardy youth, when my friends were dreaming of heroic deeds in the realms of engineering and law, finance and national politics, I dreamt of becoming a librarian. ” 126 likes
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