Alberto Manguel was born in Buenos Aires in 1948 and became a Canadian citizen in 1985. He has lived in Israel, Argentina, Italy and England, and now makes his home in France. He is an anthologist and translator, and contributes regularly to newspapers and magazines throughout the world. He is the author of four novels, including News From a Foreign Country Came (McKitterick Prize, UK and Writers’ Union of Canada Award for Fiction) and Stevenson Under the Palm Trees, as well as several works of non-fiction including (with Gianni Guadalupi) The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, A History of Reading (Prix Médicis Еssai, France), Into the Looking-Glass Wood (Prix France-Culture, France), Reading Pictures (selected by Simon Schama as best art book of the year and short-listed for the Governor General’s Award in Canada), With Borges (Prix Poitou-Charentes, France), A Reading Diary, The City of Words: the 2007 Massey Lectures, The Iliad and the Odyssey: A Biography and The Library at Night.
Alberto Manguel was appointed Times Literary Supplement lecturer in the UK in 1999, Pratt lecturer at the University of Newfoundland in 2002, S. Fischer professor at Berlin University in 2003, Northrop Frye lecturer in Moncton in 2008. He was awarded the Premio Germán Sánchez Ruipérez in Spain the Harbourfront Prize in Canada, the Grinzane Cavour in Italy and the Roger Caillois in France. He was made doctor honoris causa by the University of Liège and he is a fellow of the Guggenheim Foundation. He was granted the grade of Officier des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
About ”A History of Reading“
Reading, Manguel tells us, is almost as essential to our existence as breathing. How did this come to be, and how has reading shaped our minds and our cultures? These are big, complex questions, but Manguel, who has devoted his life to books, is able, by virtue of assiduous research and creative analysis, to answer them, delighting his enraptured readers in the process. Much of the charm of this highly original history lies in the autobiographical sketches Manguel, who has lived all over the world, includes, from his own childhood epiphany when he realized he could read, to an account of his experiences reading aloud to the blind writer Jorge Luis Borges.
Donna Seaman, Booklist
This is written more in the pursuit of learned pleasure than of pedantic knowledge, by a man plainly in love with books and reading. …His book, digressive, witty, surprising, is a pleasure.
From Kirkus Reviews
Essayist Manguel explores the relationship between writing and reading in a celebration of reading trends and materials which blends history and philosophy. From the early evolution of reading and writing to trends in literary presentation and social awareness, this proves a lively discourse.
Midwest Book Review
Anyone who reads will be hooked right away: this is a book for bookworms, written with the passion and attention to detail we deserve, and are likely to demand. It is, after all, a history of ourselves, and a celebration of our favourite occupation.
An absolute treasure…. A History of Reading is eclectic and personal, informed and shaped by its author’s passion for the subject…. Losing yourself in Alberto Manguel’s mind…means being led expertly through a complex labyrinth of fact and exposition.
The Globe and Mail
A wonderful merger of scholarship and personal essay. Manguel is clearly enchanted with the act of reading, and he writes so beautifully and felicitously that he infects us with his enthusiasm again and again. He has perpetrated a delight.
A highly entertaining overview that leaves us with both a new appreciation for our own bibliomania and a deeper understanding of the role that the written word has played throughout history.
The New York Times
About ”The Library at Night“
An absolute treasure…. Alberto Manguel has written a celebration of reading [that] has the impact of an elegy.
The Globe and Mail
A love letter written to reading.
George Steiner, The New Yorker
In my personal library of imaginary places, and more specifically on the bookcases near my desk, I maintain a shelf reserved for brilliant readers. There”s rarely any turnover. Borges, Calvino, Benjamin and Zweig (plus a few other steadfast patrons). With Manguel’s The Library at Night, that will clearly have to change.
Allen Kurzweil, author of The Grand Complication and A Case of Curiosities
About ”The Dictionary of Imaginary Places“
“In the Library of Trivia, which I wish were never absent from our shelves, I believe The Dictionary of Imaginary Places to be our indispensable reference book.”
Alberto Manguel (is) a keeper of the word and a guardian of the book.
The Globe and Mail
Alberto Manguel is a tireless champion of the written word. He cares about books…with a deep, unswerving passion because he believes they are – still, despite our electronic progress – essential links between the individual and the world.
The Vancouver Sun
Like Pablo Neruda wrote regarding the Argentinian Julio Cortazar, one could say that not to read Alberto Manguel is an invisible and serious illness that, in time, might have terrible consequences…. Not to accompany Manguel on a jubilatory and salutary stroll through the world of words, museums and books, would be nothing short of madness.