Packing My Library
A best-selling author and world-renowned bibliophile meditates on his vast personal library and champions the vital role of all libraries 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.

Packing My Library Details

TitlePacking My Library
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMar 20th, 2018
PublisherYale University Press
ISBN-139780300219333
Rating
GenreWriting, Books About Books, Nonfiction, Essays, Autobiography, Memoir, Biography Memoir, Criticism, Literary Criticism

Packing My Library Review

  • Kris
    January 1, 1970
    Excerpt: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2...
  • Bettie☯
    January 1, 1970
    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09y...Description: Alberto Manguel has had consistent 5-star ratings for his books on reading, books and libraries. With regret, he packs up his library of 35,000 volumes and prepares to move from a vast property in rural France to a small apartment on Manhattan's West Side.Choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel finds himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books and readers, books and collectors, order and disorder, mem https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09y...Description: Alberto Manguel has had consistent 5-star ratings for his books on reading, books and libraries. With regret, he packs up his library of 35,000 volumes and prepares to move from a vast property in rural France to a small apartment on Manhattan's West Side.Choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel finds 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 re-evaluation of his life as a reader, he 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, civilised, and engaged society.⭐⭐⭐⭐ We should be grateful that we do not know what was destroyed in the fire at Alexandria, because we would be inconsolable" Numinous is an English adjective, derived in the 17th century from the Latin numen, that is (especially in ancient Roman religion) a "deity or spirit presiding over a thing or space". Meaning "denoting or relating to a numen", it describes the power or presence or realisation of a divinity.WL The Library at NightMB Stevenson Under the Palm Trees4 Packing My Library
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  • Hugo
    January 1, 1970
    "Por volta de 1931, Walter Benjamin escreveu um ensaio breve e hoje famoso acerca da relação entre os leitores e os seus livros. Chamou-lhe Desembalar a Minha Biblioteca: um discurso acerca da arte de coleccionar e aproveitou a ocasião de retirar de caixotes os seus quase dois mil livros para discorrer sobre os privilégios e as responsabilidades de um leitor. Benjamin mudou-se da casa que partilhava com a mulher, antes do seu divórcio acrimonioso no ano anterior, para um apartamento pequeno e mo "Por volta de 1931, Walter Benjamin escreveu um ensaio breve e hoje famoso acerca da relação entre os leitores e os seus livros. Chamou-lhe Desembalar a Minha Biblioteca: um discurso acerca da arte de coleccionar e aproveitou a ocasião de retirar de caixotes os seus quase dois mil livros para discorrer sobre os privilégios e as responsabilidades de um leitor. Benjamin mudou-se da casa que partilhava com a mulher, antes do seu divórcio acrimonioso no ano anterior, para um apartamento pequeno e mobilado onde viveria sozinho, disse ele, pela primeira vez na vida, «como um adulto». Walter Benjamin estava então «no limiar dos 40 e sem propriedade, posição, casa ou bens». Talvez não seja inteiramente errado encarar a sua meditação acerca dos livros como uma contraposição ao fim do seu casamento." (p. 27)"Julguei que, tendo os meus livros encontrado o seu lugar, eu teria encontrado o meu. Enganei-me." (p. 11)
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  • Diane Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    A brilliant set of essays on the importance of books, reading, and libraries."It is true that, confronted with the blind imbecility with which we try to destroy our planet, the relentlessness with which we inflict pain on ourselves and others, the extent of our greed and cowardice and envy, the arrogance with which we strut among our fellow living creatures, it is hard to believe that writing—literature or any other art, for that matter—teaches us anything. If after reading lines such as Larkin’ A brilliant set of essays on the importance of books, reading, and libraries."It is true that, confronted with the blind imbecility with which we try to destroy our planet, the relentlessness with which we inflict pain on ourselves and others, the extent of our greed and cowardice and envy, the arrogance with which we strut among our fellow living creatures, it is hard to believe that writing—literature or any other art, for that matter—teaches us anything. If after reading lines such as Larkin’s “The trees are coming into leaf, / Like something almost being said,” we are still capable of all such atrocities, then perhaps literature does make nothing happen.""Like the Greeks, we allow ourselves to be governed by sick and greedy individuals for whom death is unimportant because it happens to others, and in book after book we attempt to put into words our profound conviction that it should not be so.""Of course, literature may not be able to save anyone from injustice, or from the temptations of greed or the miseries of power. But something about it must be perilously effective if every dictator, every totalitarian government, every threatened official tries to do away with it, by burning books, by banning books, by censoring books, by taxing books, by paying mere lip-service to the cause of literacy, by insinuating that reading is an elitist activity. William Blake, speaking about Napoleon in a public address, had this to say: “Let us teach Buonaparte, and whosoever else it may concern, that it is not Arts that follow and attend upon Empire, but Empire that attends and follows the Arts.” There are too many wonderful passages to quote, but I thought these three had some relevance in today's world. I just wish everyone could understand the importance of reading.
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  • notgettingenough
    January 1, 1970
    I was drawn to this article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-30...,both the words, and unusually for me since I'm more print than picture motivated, the shots of his library. It's exactly what I want. I've never had a library, I've only ever had books everywhere, which isn't the same thing at all. Right now we have a 6m x 3m garage we are planning to turn into this thing, a library. A place which has no purpose at all other than to be with books.And I'm hoping to add this book to the shelves I was drawn to this article: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-07-30...,both the words, and unusually for me since I'm more print than picture motivated, the shots of his library. It's exactly what I want. I've never had a library, I've only ever had books everywhere, which isn't the same thing at all. Right now we have a 6m x 3m garage we are planning to turn into this thing, a library. A place which has no purpose at all other than to be with books.And I'm hoping to add this book to the shelves once I get my hands on a copy.
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  • Anton
    January 1, 1970
    One more unplanned serendipitous encounter...And what a delight!A glorious ode to books, libraries, reading, and the power of written word. Utterly enchanting from the first page. A perfect gift for a bibliophile (if you are in search of one😉)5 ⭐ One more unplanned serendipitous encounter...And what a delight!A glorious ode to books, libraries, reading, and the power of written word. Utterly enchanting from the first page. A perfect gift for a bibliophile (if you are in search of one😉)5 ⭐️
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  • Nicole Beaudry
    January 1, 1970
    Cher M. Manguel,I think I might be in love with you. It's possible that that's an exaggeration, but if it is, it's only slight. You've captured, perfectly, the aboutness of reading, of being a reader, and of being an owner of books. I, too, am a many-book-owning librarian, and I know that that's a funny thing. But in this, a love letting to owning books, to picking up a sheaf of well-thumbed, bound pages, and finding not only a familiar story but a familiar time, place, drop of orange juice from Cher M. Manguel,I think I might be in love with you. It's possible that that's an exaggeration, but if it is, it's only slight. You've captured, perfectly, the aboutness of reading, of being a reader, and of being an owner of books. I, too, am a many-book-owning librarian, and I know that that's a funny thing. But in this, a love letting to owning books, to picking up a sheaf of well-thumbed, bound pages, and finding not only a familiar story but a familiar time, place, drop of orange juice from breakfast at your grandmother's kitchen table, tears along the sternum of the book between chapters two and three, you have articulated perfectly why the ownership of books, and their absence, can be such an emotional thing. I also very much enjoyed your digressions, which were as informative as they were charming, slipping perfectly within the notched out spaces in your story. The final section on what a national library can be, should be, was the most powerful for me. Nailed it.Re. the usual review things: lucid, luminous writing, a careful unpacking of feelings that never feels overwhelming but always feels deep enough, and a meticulously crafted narrative interspersed with contextualizing digressions on readership and ownership. Worth the read if you're a librarian, a reader, a book lover, or breathing.Merci bien pour quelques heures passées tranquillement, avec un livre extraordinaire.
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  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    Loc 85:Borges observed in an early essay that a translation can be understood as equivalent to a draft, and that the only difference between a translation and an early version of a text is merely chronological, not hierarchical: where the draft precedes the original, the translation follows it.Loc 158-159"Books delight one in depth, run through our veins, advise us and bind us in a kind of active and keen familiarity; and an individual book does not insinuate itself alone into our spirit, but le Loc 85:Borges observed in an early essay that a translation can be understood as equivalent to a draft, and that the only difference between a translation and an early version of a text is merely chronological, not hierarchical: where the draft precedes the original, the translation follows it.Loc 158-159"Books delight one in depth, run through our veins, advise us and bind us in a kind of active and keen familiarity; and an individual book does not insinuate itself alone into our spirit, but leads the way for manu more, and thus provokes in us a longing for others." PetrarchLoc 291If unpacking a library is a wild act of rebirth, packing it is a tidy entombment before the seemingly final judgment.Loc 1008-1013Every translator knows that passing from one language to another is less an act of reconstruction than one of reconversion, in the profoundest sense of changing one's system of belief.Loc 1053Jean Cocteau, with becoming parsimony, judged that a simple dictionary was enough to contain a universal library, because "every literary masterpiece is nothing but a dictionary out of order."Loc 1077-1081If books are our records of experience and libraries our depositories of memory, a dictionary is our talisman against oblivion.Loc 1136The imaginary reality of book contaminates every aspect of our life. We act and feel under the shadow of literary actions and feelings, and even the indifferent states of nature are perceived by us through literary descriptions, something John Ruskin called "the pathetic fallacy."
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  • verbava
    January 1, 1970
    альберто мангуель щемко, з велетенською ніжністю пакує свою бібліотеку.він говорить про хиткість слів, пам'ять, втрату і тугу – бо, хоча книжки й залишаться ті самі десь у величезній камері схову на тридцять п'ять тисяч томів, отої любої бібліотеки у французькій провінції вже ніколи не буде; а ще тому, що розуміє, як мало часу йому залишилося, тож кожна розповідь так чи інак набуває відтінку втрати. але це світла елегія, адже всі, кому колись доводилося глибоко занурюватись у текст, знають, що ж альберто мангуель щемко, з велетенською ніжністю пакує свою бібліотеку.він говорить про хиткість слів, пам'ять, втрату і тугу – бо, хоча книжки й залишаться ті самі десь у величезній камері схову на тридцять п'ять тисяч томів, отої любої бібліотеки у французькій провінції вже ніколи не буде; а ще тому, що розуміє, як мало часу йому залишилося, тож кожна розповідь так чи інак набуває відтінку втрати. але це світла елегія, адже всі, кому колись доводилося глибоко занурюватись у текст, знають, що жодна історія не починається в самій собі – а значить, жодна історія так насправді сама в собі й не закінчується.
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  • Edward
    January 1, 1970
    Manguel writes short books, essentially extended essays, about his love for books, literature, and the act of reading. Not logically, at least for any bookish reasons, I became interested in him because he lived in the same area of France, near Poitiers, where I've spent a number of summers. A local newspaper published a feature story about his 35,000 volume library which he housed in a converted barn. I never met hm, but our geographical proximity got me into Manguel's mental world.I've read fi Manguel writes short books, essentially extended essays, about his love for books, literature, and the act of reading. Not logically, at least for any bookish reasons, I became interested in him because he lived in the same area of France, near Poitiers, where I've spent a number of summers. A local newspaper published a feature story about his 35,000 volume library which he housed in a converted barn. I never met hm, but our geographical proximity got me into Manguel's mental world.I've read five of his other books where his approach is usually to take a subject derived from which books he has been reading, and see where it leads him. He has written a history of reading, kept a diary of a year's worth of reading, explored the world of Lewis Carroll's Alice, speculated on the thin line between life and fiction, and followed that with what I think is his only work of fiction, a short and very good novel about the the shadowy connection between Robert Louis Stevenson's life and Dr Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. His style is casual and informal. This latest work comments on his move from France to a New York City apartment, a move which necessitated packing up his many books and putting them in storage. He aptly calls his experience an "elegy" as a part of himself has been lost, and he wants to pay homage to this book-filled life. These books, he emphasizes, are not for the most part rare collector's items, just books that he liked and wanted to own.He discusses briefly a few individual favorite books, among them ones by his fellow Argentine, Jorge Borges, Cervantes' DON QUIXOTE, and Lewis Carroll from whom he quotes freely. What these authors have in common is the creation of fictional worlds, one that reflect and interpret our so-called "real" world. When we think about books, we transform them into "presences among which we live."At their best, those "presences" are their own justification. It could be said that serious readers don't read to live, but live to read. He is well aware that readers, much less serious ones, make up a very small percentage of the world's population, but books and reading exist as a good in their own right, one that stimulates imagination and empathy. He thinks all countries should have national libraries, and in passing, hopes that none of them suffer the fate of the destruction of the fabled library at Alexandria. I wish that Manguel would have said more about the details of his move, why he had to leave (his advancing age is part of it, but he doesn't go into any detail) his beloved library in "France profond" and move to America, but that remains a mystery, and maybe it's appropriate as he ends his book with questions as to what will happen to his dismantled library. Who will read his collected books? Which titles will recall other titles? What ghosts will linger over his books, and over all books, for that matter?
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  • Anna
    January 1, 1970
    I was absolutely delighted to see that Alberto Manguel was speaking at several events during this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. It was very sad to subsequently discover that he won’t be able to come after all. To console myself, I found this, his latest book, in the library. Manguel is probably my all-time favourite non-fiction writer. The Library at Night is my favourite book of his, as I share his profound love of libraries. In ‘Packing My Library’, he further reflects on the i I was absolutely delighted to see that Alberto Manguel was speaking at several events during this year’s Edinburgh International Book Festival. It was very sad to subsequently discover that he won’t be able to come after all. To console myself, I found this, his latest book, in the library. Manguel is probably my all-time favourite non-fiction writer. The Library at Night is my favourite book of his, as I share his profound love of libraries. In ‘Packing My Library’, he further reflects on the importance of personal and public libraries, now that he has become director of the National Library of Argentina - as Borges once was. Reading about Manguel’s own library is delightful, even though my attitude to book collecting is much closer to that of Borges:There are certain readers for whom books exist in the moment of reading them, and later as memories of the read pages, but who feel that the physical incarnations of books are dispensible. Borges, for instance, was one of these. Those who never visited Borges’ modest flat imagined his library to be as vast as that of Babel. In fact, Borges kept only a few hundred books, and even these he used to give away to visitors. Occasionally, a certain volume had sentimental or superstitious value for him, but by and large what mattered to him were a few recalled lines, not the material object in which he had found them.My own ‘modest flat’ has only one small overflowing bookshelf, the vast majority of books I read are from the library, and when I finish a book I’ve actually bought my impulse is to find someone suitable to pass it along to. Nonetheless, I greatly appreciate the physical qualities of books and can imagine collecting more of a personal library if I were to settle into a secure home rather than renting. The greatest joy of reading Manguel is the way he forges new links between books, historical events, philosophical concepts, and other thoughts. He is a wonderful synoptic writer, something specifically embraced in this book via the ‘ten digressions’. Each is a beautifully written short commentary on some aspect of the human condition and/or contemporary life. I particularly liked the digression on the association of misery and art:Being sick, being downcast, being poor doesn’t suit the creative genius; it only suits the idea that the rich patron likes to have of the artist to justify tightfistedness. There is an anecdote about the film mogul Sam Goldwyn trying to buy the rights of one of Shaw’s plays. Goldwyn being Goldwyn kept haggling about the price, and in the end Shaw declined to sell. Goldwyn couldn’t understand why. “The trouble is, Mr. Goldwyn,” Shaw said, “that you are interested only In art – and I am interested only in money.”I also loved the digression on the Library of Alexandria, a perpetually bewitching place, and that on golems:Our creations, our Golems or our libraries, are at best things that suggest an approximation to a copy of our blurry intuition of the real thing, itself an imperfect imitation of an ineffable archetype. This achievement is our unique and humble prerogative. The only art that is synonymous with reality is (according to Dante and Borges and the Talmudic scholars) that of God.That has strong echoes of Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything, which tells us that we can never directly perceive the thing-in-itself. Manguel also makes thoughtful comments on dreams, dictionaries, and colonialism. The final digression considers censorship:Of course, literature may not be able to save anyone from injustice, or from the temptations of greed or the miseries of power. But something about it must be perilously effective if every dictator, every totalitarian government, every threatened official tries to do away with it, by burning books, by banning books, by censoring books, by taxing books, by paying mere lip-service to the cause of literacy, by insinuating that reading is an elitist activity.[…]And again and again, empires fall and literature continues.Between his digressions into relative abstraction, Manguel carefully presents a manifesto for public libraries in the 21st century that I found convincing and profound. Despite its short length, there is a great deal for the enthusiastic reader to consider in this subtle, beautifully written book.
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  • Lyubina Yordanova
    January 1, 1970
    I love reading books about books!"Packing My Library" tells a story of the library of one of the most incredible readers and bibliophiles of our time Alberto Manguel, who is now the director of the National Library of Argentina. Packing up his enormous, 35,000-volume personal library, Manguel meditates on memory, language, maniacality, the act of reading, the importance of the public libraries, sharing interesting facts about books, writers and historic book events at the same time.Impressing th I love reading books about books!"Packing My Library" tells a story of the library of one of the most incredible readers and bibliophiles of our time Alberto Manguel, who is now the director of the National Library of Argentina. Packing up his enormous, 35,000-volume personal library, Manguel meditates on memory, language, maniacality, the act of reading, the importance of the public libraries, sharing interesting facts about books, writers and historic book events at the same time.Impressing the reader with his erudite knowledge, Manguel inspires!"Generous teachers, passionate booksellers, friends for whom giving a book was a supreme act of intimacy and trust helped me build it. Their ghosts haunted my shelves, and the books they gave me still carry their voices...The books in my library promised me comfort, and also the possibility of enlightening conversations. They granted me, every time I took one in my hands, the memory of friendships that required no introductions, no conventional politeness, no pretence or concealed emotion. The most famous and dearest of these readers (for me at least) is Alonso Quijano, the old man who becomes Don Quixote through his reading.Losing things is not so bad because you learn to enjoy not what you have but what you remember. You should grow accustomed to loss.As Nabokov understood, the language we use is not just an instrument - however feeble, inexact, treacherous - for communicating as best we can with others. Unlike other instruments, the language that we speak defines us. Our thoughts, our ethics, our aesthetics are all, up to a point, defined by our language.Sometimes the experience of a friend, a parent, a teacher, a librarian obviously moved be reading a certain page can inspire, if not immediate imitation, at least curiosity. And that, I think, is a good beginning. The discovery of the art of reading is intimate, obscure, secret, almost impossible to explain, akin to falling in love, if you will forgive the maudlin comparison."Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions - Alberto ManguelPublisher: Yale University Press
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  • Alvaro Zinos-Amaro
    January 1, 1970
    Another nonfiction title. A beautiful and slender but dense and enormously digressive volume about our relationships with libraries, books, and the world of the storytelling imagination in general, as seen through the eyes of someone who made a decision to move to another country and in order to do so had to pack up his vast, decades-long library of 35,000 books and put most of it in storage. Subtitled AN ELEGY AND TEN DIGRESSIONS, it should really be called TEN DIGRESSIONS AND AN ELEGY, as the Another nonfiction title. A beautiful and slender but dense and enormously digressive volume about our relationships with libraries, books, and the world of the storytelling imagination in general, as seen through the eyes of someone who made a decision to move to another country and in order to do so had to pack up his vast, decades-long library of 35,000 books and put most of it in storage. Subtitled AN ELEGY AND TEN DIGRESSIONS, it should really be called TEN DIGRESSIONS AND AN ELEGY, as the digressions soon dominate the main strand. Readers of Manguel will see him returning to some of his favorites and obsessions. The interstitial historical material is interesting but somewhat haphazard. A bit of tighter editing could have really heightened the overall impact. Sometimes Manguel's esoteric generalizations and tendency towards the Borgesian become a bit tiresome, but he can't ever be accused of thinking shallowly.
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  • Alan
    January 1, 1970
    Alberto Manguel has written more books about books and reading and libraries than anyone else that I have ever read. Some of my favourites have been A History Of Reading and Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey: A Biography (both pre-GR reading but due for rereads soon I think). His newest "Packing My Library" is structured around the act of having his 35,000 volume library in France being packed up for storage when he was set to move to the US and then instead became diverted to become the Directo Alberto Manguel has written more books about books and reading and libraries than anyone else that I have ever read. Some of my favourites have been A History Of Reading and Homer's the Iliad and the Odyssey: A Biography (both pre-GR reading but due for rereads soon I think). His newest "Packing My Library" is structured around the act of having his 35,000 volume library in France being packed up for storage when he was set to move to the US and then instead became diverted to become the Director of the National Library of Argentina, his birth country.The main arc of the packing and moving tale is interrupted by 10 digressions in which Manguel ponders libraries in general and the purpose and goals of a National Library in particular. Bibliophiles will love it.Trivia Link35,000 books in a personal library is a bit hard to picture and I haven't found a video of Manguel's French barn library, but in the meantime, here is a video of Umberto Eco walking through his apartment home library of 30,o00 volumes at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoEuv...
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  • Mugren Ohaly
    January 1, 1970
    The more I read, the worse it got. He starts off every chapter by reiterating that his library is packed away in boxes somewhere. We get it, you had to move and give up your “library”. Despite my love for books, I don’t think it’s natural for a single person to own 35,000 books. His idea of keeping the ones he hated to show people an example of a bad book is quaint, and I like it, but it’s unreasonable. The only way he was able to have such a large library is by buying a house with a barn in a s The more I read, the worse it got. He starts off every chapter by reiterating that his library is packed away in boxes somewhere. We get it, you had to move and give up your “library”. Despite my love for books, I don’t think it’s natural for a single person to own 35,000 books. His idea of keeping the ones he hated to show people an example of a bad book is quaint, and I like it, but it’s unreasonable. The only way he was able to have such a large library is by buying a house with a barn in a small town. I’m also troubled by the fact that it seems he hasn’t read a single book published after the 19th century.
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  • Vel Veeter
    January 1, 1970
    This short memoir/thought piece takes it cue from the Walter Benjamin essay I will write about afterward and addresses what it means to pack one’s library away, presumably for good, as one heads into the final stages of life. Alberto Manguel is rounding on 70 and after decades of moving through and all over the world, he seems to have reached a place where he’s able to give up his library. His sentiments are especially interesting if you take the time (10 minutes or so) to read Benjamin’s essay This short memoir/thought piece takes it cue from the Walter Benjamin essay I will write about afterward and addresses what it means to pack one’s library away, presumably for good, as one heads into the final stages of life. Alberto Manguel is rounding on 70 and after decades of moving through and all over the world, he seems to have reached a place where he’s able to give up his library. His sentiments are especially interesting if you take the time (10 minutes or so) to read Benjamin’s essay because there’s the constant inversion of Benjamin’s thesis written into Manguel’s as this text is “Packing” while Benjamin’s is “Unpacking.” So the essay here address the myriad feelings that come from a sense of libraries and the liberation of reading that Manguel especially felt as the child of a diplomat, and eventually the child of a diplomat of a country going through a fascist dictatorship (Argentina of the 60s and 70s) and this kind of statelessness or more so placelessness caused upheaval. And so the steadying hand of a permanently fixed and stable library, especially of one’s own making became a place in the world to be. He doesn’t quite get into, but implies that his own Queer identity played an important role in both the initially instability and later stability this brought. But as he go older, the statelessness transitioned into stability, but with his success as a writer and eventually administrator of libraries, there came a need to become more mobile, and so his 35,000 volume library became too much of a burden. All of this is to say that as Manguel tells these stories, he also involves himself in the project of thinking through the history and concepts of libraries. All of this in encapsulated in his own reaction to library spaces themselves. As a book collector he both avers and agrees with the paradox “These books are not yours; they belong to everyone” as a poster in one library told him.
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  • Cristina
    January 1, 1970
    https://osrascunhos.com/2018/04/02/em...Conhecido leitor e escritor, Alberto Manguel consegue dissertar longamente sobre bibliotecas. Já o tinha provado em Biblioteca à noite ou Dicionário dos Lugares Imaginários (e em outros livros que decerto desconheço). Se em Biblioteca à noite disserta sobre a sua própria biblioteca, situada num local privilegiado e propícia a deambulações nocturnas, aqui fala sobre o empacotar dessa mesma biblioteca sem saber quando irá, novamente, olhar estes livros.O val https://osrascunhos.com/2018/04/02/em...Conhecido leitor e escritor, Alberto Manguel consegue dissertar longamente sobre bibliotecas. Já o tinha provado em Biblioteca à noite ou Dicionário dos Lugares Imaginários (e em outros livros que decerto desconheço). Se em Biblioteca à noite disserta sobre a sua própria biblioteca, situada num local privilegiado e propícia a deambulações nocturnas, aqui fala sobre o empacotar dessa mesma biblioteca sem saber quando irá, novamente, olhar estes livros.O valor de uma biblioteca é relativo. Se há alguns que a valorizam consoante o número de volumes raros, Alberto Manguel tem outra perspectiva sobre a sua própria biblioteca: Na minha biblioteca, os Pengiun novos e brilhantes viam-se alegremente ao lado de patriarcas com ar grave encadernados a pele. Os livros mais valiosos para mim eram aqueles a que eu fazia associações pessoais, como um dos primeiros que li, uma edição da década de 1930 dos Contos de Grimm impressa em caracteres góticos sombrios.O autor passa então a descrever as suas próprias memórias sobre as bibliotecas pessoais que teve, começando com a de livros infantis que a ama lhe lia, e continuando, vida fora, entre locais distintos do globo, a construir bibliotecas que espelham as transformações pelas quais passam os seus próprios donos, mas guardando uma memória de quem os leitores foram em dado momento. No meio existe um relato simultaneamente fascinante e horrendo de uma biblioteca construído na base da guilhotina : Antes de regressar à Argentina, o meu pai pediu à sua secretária que comprasse livros suficientes para encher as prateleiras da biblioteca da nossa casa nova; ela, obedientemente, encomendou montões de volumes de um alfarrabista de Buenos Aires mas, quando começou a arrumá-los nas prateleiras, verificou que muitos não cabiam. Determinada, mandou guilhotiná-los à medida e, depois, encaderná-los em couro verde escuro, cor que, combinada com o carvalho escuro, dava ao lugar uma atmosfera de clareira florestal.A biblioteca reflecte o seu dono e guarda memórias imperdíveis. Daí que o autor diga que goste das bibliotecas públicas (pelas possibilidades que guardam) mas, no final, prefira a sua, até porque: Como um saqueador ganancioso, quero que os livros que leio sejam meus.Entre os pesadelos de Stevenson (que deram origem às mais fantásticas histórias do autor, como referido, também, na banda desenhada sobre Stevenson), o autor disserta sobre D. Quixote (e a empatia que sentiu pela personagem quando esta perde a sua biblioteca e fica uma semana sem proferir palavra) ou sobre outras personagens e autores em que as bibliotecas têm o seu próprio lugar. Não podem, claro, faltar as inúmeras referências a Borges (que o autor conheceu) e a sua volátil relação com as bibliotecas (já que os livros que tinham eram dados a visitas).Embalando a minha biblioteca é daqueles livros que comecei a ler numa livraria e que não consegui largar até ao final, interrompendo outros que tinha pegado antes – o autor demonstra um elevado conhecimento literário e consegue transmitir, na sua escrita, a paixão dos livros.
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  • Danny Daley
    January 1, 1970
    Manguel is an author, but is far better known as a reader. Manguel had a library at his home in France of some 35,000 books, but when he was forced out of France, and chose to settle in Manhattan, he simply could not afford a space to keep his library in tact. He packaged many books to store, but also had to part with a large number of them. This little book features insights and digressions centered around the act of packing and tearing apart this cherished library. As an avid reader and collec Manguel is an author, but is far better known as a reader. Manguel had a library at his home in France of some 35,000 books, but when he was forced out of France, and chose to settle in Manhattan, he simply could not afford a space to keep his library in tact. He packaged many books to store, but also had to part with a large number of them. This little book features insights and digressions centered around the act of packing and tearing apart this cherished library. As an avid reader and collector of books myself, I found much of myself in these pages. The book is strongest in its first half, when Manguel is actually centering his thoughts on the library. The book featured multiple insights on books, libraries, and the art and act of reading and the power of stories. The second half of the book dropped off for me a bit when Manguel digressed into other topics that, while interesting, were somewhat less relevant to the major point of the book. I would have loved to hear more about the process and mentality of the deconstruction of his library, and of the thoughts he had of certain books and writers as he was in process. Which books had he parted with, and which had he kept, and why. This to me would have been better than digressions on Spanish adventurers. I found it interesting that Manguel bounced out of the seemingly desperate valley after only a short time and onto an even greater peak than where he began. After packing and losing most of his own library, he was made the director of the national library of Argentina, and given charge over a library far more vast than his own. Life is interesting.
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  • Steve
    January 1, 1970
    Manguel, whose "A History of Reading" I loved, admits that he has a bad habit of digressing during his essays, and that happens here quite a bit - to the point that I am not sure the title makes sense for the book itself. For a collection of short, personal essays, there seems to be a wall he sets up between himself and the reader - an unwillingness to share all of himself. For example, he swipes aside the reason he and his partner head to leave the home they loved in France. He covers the inabi Manguel, whose "A History of Reading" I loved, admits that he has a bad habit of digressing during his essays, and that happens here quite a bit - to the point that I am not sure the title makes sense for the book itself. For a collection of short, personal essays, there seems to be a wall he sets up between himself and the reader - an unwillingness to share all of himself. For example, he swipes aside the reason he and his partner head to leave the home they loved in France. He covers the inability of language to reflect Reality, how unreliable the alphabet and words are - subjects he and many others, have covered in depth elsewhere. He is obviously erudite in a very Old School kind of way (and I would even call his writing style, and the composition of his sentences to be very Old School - he does remind me of R L Stevenson, without the casualness), and I found his stories of Jewish theology informative. And, the last 3 chapters, on being Director of the national Library of Argentina, and what role that Library should assume in the modern world, for the country as a while, for reader and non-reader, had some interesting questions. Not surprisingly, most without answers (they mostly are an ongoing dialog for every other national library as well). OK, OK, he read to a blind Borges as a boy. Reminder, that 2 Stars is "It was OK". This short tome interested me, but put it down at the bookstore. Then read a review, with other books also covered, and had a quick, strong interest. Bought it as an ebook, and started reading it that night. Sadly, never grabbed/engaged me.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I so desperately wanted to like this book, but alas this book and I found each other at the wrong time. At the moment I simply cannot offer it the intellectual energy it demands; it really is a case of "it's not you, it's me".Alberto Manguel is someone I admire and he writes delightfully about reading and books. The premise of Packing my Library is certainly close to my heart - Alberto had to pack up and downsize his considerable library (30000 items in an historic house in France), and relocate I so desperately wanted to like this book, but alas this book and I found each other at the wrong time. At the moment I simply cannot offer it the intellectual energy it demands; it really is a case of "it's not you, it's me".Alberto Manguel is someone I admire and he writes delightfully about reading and books. The premise of Packing my Library is certainly close to my heart - Alberto had to pack up and downsize his considerable library (30000 items in an historic house in France), and relocate to a one-bedroom flat in New York. It's a huge and emotional task that most booklovers would have experienced at some stage in their lives, and can respond to. In this case it had sown the seeds of some literary musings on our relationship with books, with collecting, and other book-related things.His writing is not difficult in the sense that it is badly communicated or incomprehensible; rather, he is so well-read and wrote so carefully that he has managed to cram huge amounts of ideas into a slim volume. I hope to attempt it another time when I have more time and mental capacity to tease out the literary references and ideas and do the book justice.
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  • Edmund Kubiak
    January 1, 1970
    Since I've just gone through the process of moving and having found that my library had indeed grown beyond the size of the new house, I took my step-mother's advice of going through the library, dividing it in half and then dividing the half in half. Even having done that I found that I had more library than space for books. This book made me think-- about my own reading, about what I read and what I want to read, about the books and music and motion pictures that I own and why I own them (I ca Since I've just gone through the process of moving and having found that my library had indeed grown beyond the size of the new house, I took my step-mother's advice of going through the library, dividing it in half and then dividing the half in half. Even having done that I found that I had more library than space for books. This book made me think-- about my own reading, about what I read and what I want to read, about the books and music and motion pictures that I own and why I own them (I catalogue for a public library; one day my father said to me "Son, I don't understand WHY you own all these books and things when you work for a library" to which I replied "Dad, when I want to read something" [or listen to something or view something] "I want to read it NOW. With the library I often have to wait at least a day while the book either comes from one of the branches or from the someone-else-who-is-reading it.") Anyway, to quote from Bullwinkle ("Poetry Corner," "The Children's Hour" episode): "This is a VERY useful book."
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  • Tim Smith
    January 1, 1970
    Packing My Library is at many times one of the more diverting essay collections on reading that I have recently read. I was a bit disappointed, as it appeared to discuss Manguel's move from France to NY, that he wrote about his packing his 35,000 volume collection of books without answering many practical questions. We don't learn much about what books are in the collection. We also don't learn why his books must stay in storage. His move to NY is hinted at, not really discussed. It is not reall Packing My Library is at many times one of the more diverting essay collections on reading that I have recently read. I was a bit disappointed, as it appeared to discuss Manguel's move from France to NY, that he wrote about his packing his 35,000 volume collection of books without answering many practical questions. We don't learn much about what books are in the collection. We also don't learn why his books must stay in storage. His move to NY is hinted at, not really discussed. It is not really a cohesive book at all. Instead, it is a great collection of essays about libraries, from the lost Library of Alexandria to Manguel's appointment as Director to the National Library in Argentina. I would strongly recommend it to someone interested in the philosophy and history of reading.
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  • Mark McTague
    January 1, 1970
    The subtitle of Manguel's text is "An Elegy and Ten Digressions," the elegy for his enforced dismantling and packing up of his library (some 15-30,000 books) and leaving the home he had lived in for so many years in France, and the digressions for meditations on the meaning of libraries, the creation of readers, the meaning of memory and mortality, and the value of books and reading for society and the individuals who constitute them. A short volume (145 pages of text), the book is rich with ins The subtitle of Manguel's text is "An Elegy and Ten Digressions," the elegy for his enforced dismantling and packing up of his library (some 15-30,000 books) and leaving the home he had lived in for so many years in France, and the digressions for meditations on the meaning of libraries, the creation of readers, the meaning of memory and mortality, and the value of books and reading for society and the individuals who constitute them. A short volume (145 pages of text), the book is rich with insight, penetrating questions, and an infectious determination of celebrate the written word. For anyone who loves books or simply enjoys reading, this small work is immensely rewarding. Highly recommended.
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  • Steven Buechler
    January 1, 1970
    Manguel has a gift for documenting something more than books and reading with his writing. He has captured something of the zeitgeist. I know I am not alone in my life surrounded by technology and egoists that I want to come home and ponder one of the many volumes that are on my shelves. Not only do they provide me with quiet enlightenment but act as insulation from busy, intrusive world. Any time I must pack up my shelves, I feel the same melancholia he does, until the items are unpacked and di Manguel has a gift for documenting something more than books and reading with his writing. He has captured something of the zeitgeist. I know I am not alone in my life surrounded by technology and egoists that I want to come home and ponder one of the many volumes that are on my shelves. Not only do they provide me with quiet enlightenment but act as insulation from busy, intrusive world. Any time I must pack up my shelves, I feel the same melancholia he does, until the items are unpacked and displayed again.https://pacifictranquility.wordpress....
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  • Georgia
    January 1, 1970
    It's been a long time since I have read a series of essay's so beautifully indulgent and organic. As the reader I felt I was slipping into Manguel's own library, browsing old leather bound volumes from Kafka to Shelley. His writing is thoughtful and intuitive and it has certainly made me look different at my own library (and by library I mean a few bookshelves - but we can dream can't we?). After reading this collection I had that moment where I thought - I must read everything this man has writ It's been a long time since I have read a series of essay's so beautifully indulgent and organic. As the reader I felt I was slipping into Manguel's own library, browsing old leather bound volumes from Kafka to Shelley. His writing is thoughtful and intuitive and it has certainly made me look different at my own library (and by library I mean a few bookshelves - but we can dream can't we?). After reading this collection I had that moment where I thought - I must read everything this man has written. Watch this space.
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  • Michael
    January 1, 1970
    Some great parts but overall I felt a bit let down that Manguel seems quite guarded. He never explains why he's moving whether his library gets reestablished in NYC or Argentina. He seems to keep the audience at a distance. But as always, lots of insightful observations and fascinating anecdotes and tidbits. Plus I really enjoyed his reflections on the role of a national library. Recommended, but start with The Library at Night, instead.
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  • Eileen
    January 1, 1970
    Picked this up at the "new non fiction" area of the library. It was a most interesting read about a person who needs to pack up his very large library (35,000 books). Throughout the chapters the author shares his thoughts on his library and also talks about historic book events. Being an avid reader, I enjoyed learning about this man's reflections on his own love of reading and his connection to books.
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  • Kathryn
    January 1, 1970
    My dad sent me this with the following note: "Hi Kath, I found this book delightful, smart, wonderfully written - and difficult. I had to look up an inordinate number of words." Which I echo. This was a lovely look inside of the brain of a very smart man who loves books and libraries a lot. But it's also sort of slight, like he had an idea for a book, but not actually a completed book.
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  • Thomas Breen
    January 1, 1970
    Glorious, inspiring, accessible, profound. Manguel is the ideal reader: a compendium of knowledge who’s references are never flashy or condescending, but all served towards 1) instilling a love of reading and learning and sharing and remembering with anyone who listen in, and 2) connecting the mere act of reading and existence of books to mankind’s long and circuitous and probably vain attempt to love ethically. Mandatory reading for anyone who loves to read.
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  • James
    January 1, 1970
    Alberto Manguel needed to move from France where he housed a 35,000-volume personal library to a one-bedroom apartment in New York City. As he processes and purges, he reflects on the nature and importance of reading, libraries, and literature. A beautifully written and thoughtful book that will make librarians and readers cheer. Highly recommended.
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