I think I am rushing out to buy a new book this morning. It’s A Reader on Reading from writer Alberto Manguel, who just might be the most well-read person on the planet. Read more about him here. I’ve previously written (enviously) on this blog about his wonderful personal library in France. If you are unfamiliar with him, Manguel is a distinguished scholar and man of letters who has become known for writing about reading. I would highly recommend his previous book, A Library at Night, where he talks about the history of libraries as well as his love for his own private space.
Famed critic Michael Dirda writes about Manguel in this issue of Barnes and Noble Review. I like what he says in this paragraph about how Manguel describes writing: “Manguel the reader never quite expected to become Manguel the writer. Reading, he says in “Room for the Shadow,” “is a contented, sensuous occupation whose intensity and rhythm are agreed upon between the reader and the chosen book.” By contrast, writing is “a strict, plodding, physically demanding task in which the pleasures of inspiration are all well and good, but are only what hunger and taste are to a cook: a starting point and a measuring rod, not the main occupation. Long hours, stiff joints, sore feet, cramped hands, the heat or cold of the workplace, the anguish of missing ingredients and the humiliation owing to the lack of knowhow, onions that make you cry, and sharp knives that slice your fingers are what is in store for anyone who wants to prepare a good meal or write a good book.”