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Alberto Manguel grew up under Peron's government which was totalitarian.

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He describes many of the problems with literature, writing, and reading that occur under repressive regimes. He also discusses Che Guevara and his impact on literature. This makes for some interesting, if a bit pointed commentary. There is a lot to recommend in this book. It has a well done index, a very extensive bibliography, and a nice feel to the book.

The book is set in Fourier Type and is quite easy to read. It is printed by Yale University Press. It is an excellent book well worth reading. Aug 02, Cheryl rated it it was amazing Shelves: Alberto Manguel is the epitome of the erudite idealistic booklover.

A Reader on Reading – Alberto Manguel | The Captive Reader

He ushers us into his library of ideas, knowing that his and our enjoyment of books, the reading, the collecting, the savouring, will be mutually enhanced by the sharing of ideas. He is one of those rare authors who make you feel that he is putting into words your own unformed thoughts. And then he tells us so much more, he is showing us worlds, and he is our knowledgeable guide. They are about reading, about words, or Words, and their power. So his subjects are wide-ranging.

More Notes Towards an Ideal Reader: A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel

He chafes at the North American use of the editor in publishing. Because books must be saleable merchandise, experts must be employed to ensure that the products are profitably commercial. At its worst this unifying task produces mass-market romances; at its best it cuts Thomas Wolfe down to size. May 21, Bill rated it liked it Shelves: View all 4 comments. Jan 31, Parrish Lantern rated it it was amazing Shelves: So writes Alberto Manguel, in this fantastic, thought provoking joy of a book — A Reader on reading.

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Mar 26, Andres rated it really liked it. This is my first Manguel book and I found it a good intro to his writing. I look forward to reading his other books, especially the two waiting on my shelf. Most of the essays are interesting, though some are more esoteric and so harder to appreciate I really liked the essays that dealt with the author's reflections on his upbringing in Argentina, on how reading reflects the self or society, or his literary critiques.

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His interpretation of Pinocchio makes me want to read the boo This is my first Manguel book and I found it a good intro to his writing. His interpretation of Pinocchio makes me want to read the book, watch the movie, and see just how much a Disney movie can corrupt the original material. Interesting overall, just about what you would expect with a collection of essays on reading though they don't always directly relate to reading.

I really enjoyed the section titled "Notes towards a Definition of the ideal Library".. I am grateful to the author for the chapters titled "Borges in Love" and "Borges and the longed for Jew" as it really introduced me to the writings of Borges and somehow gave me the right state of mind for reading him..

This was a magnificent book of essays. Manguel is a master of the genre, on a par for our times with Hazlitt in his. His tone ranges widely too. This moving quality is often, as in the case of last two titles, underpinned by a controlled outrage. This is particularly marked in his essays which deal with the injustices that took place in his native country. He succeeds in condemning the crime rather than flawed man. One of his fundemental beliefs about reading is that at its higher levels it is less about finding answers, more about stimulating and asking questions. These essays are testament to Manguel's own accomplishments in this skill.


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He follows his own subtle, supple paths through the subjects of his choice, using his breadth of reading to discuss his questions, never like a teacher, always like a brilliant conversationalist. Best essays in the collection? Well, I could just reproduce the contents pages. Couldn't resist 'Ideal reader'. My favourite 2 quotes from it: Ideal readers would have kissed and then read on. It's a mark of Manguel's superb writing, that despite the fact I've never read a word of Borges, I thoroughly enjoyed his essays, re-read them, and came away with yet another author to read.

A Reader on Reading – Alberto Manguel

One or two cautions for anyone considering reading this book: These essays demand to be savoured at a slow pace, and there is no way of reading them, without wanting to re-read. There were at least 6 that I read, and then turned back to the beginning so I could enjoy them again. He will seriously intensify your addiction to dangerously high levels.

I shall heed the authors advice about lending books in the case of this volume, as it's one I couldn't bear to lose. If I want someone to read a book, I'll buy a copy and offer it as a gift. I believe that to lend a book is an incitement to theft. Dec 23, Stefanie rated it really liked it. The author of Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger have taught us that for everything there is a season; likewise, I might add, for every season there is a book.

But readers have learned that not just any book is suited to any occasion. Pity the soul who finds itself with the wrong book in the wrong place, like poor Roald Amundsen, discoverer of the South Pole, whose book bag sank under the ice, so that he was constrained to read, night after freezing night, the only surviving volume: John Gauden's The author of Ecclesiastes and Pete Seeger have taught us that for everything there is a season; likewise, I might add, for every season there is a book.

Readers know that there are books for reading after lovemaking and books for waiting in the airport lounge, books for the breakfast table and books for the bathroom, books for sleepless nights at home and books for sleepless days in the hospital. No one, not even the best of readers, can fully explain why certain books are right for certain occasions and why others are not.

In some ineffable way, like human beings, occasions and books mysteriously agree or clash with one another. The first being that the boy used a cane to hit the man and the second being that the man who was being hit required a cane to walk. This is due to us questioning the connotations of the language used and how it directly affects the reader in their process of absorbing meaning.

Definitionally, it is a determination, a relation, an anaphora, a feature which has the power to relate itself to anterior, ulterior, or exterior mentions, to other sites of the text or of another text. Within these examples we have concluded that the personal interpretation of text is an essential part of reading, and that any text would be unable to provide meaning without the unconscious process in which this complex language system is utilized.

Suleiman comments on E. Yet in these two definitions of meaning Hirsch has contradicted himself, affirming in the first that words mean something only in the context of an intending mind Such as where the text is being presented; a sign post, a label on the back of a plug, a mobile text message, an internet blog or of course — the book.

This spectrum is vast, from classic Literature to the ingredients on a tin of beans. It is clear that there is a distinction to be made within the interpretation process between these two examples of text and it is quite likely that this is the reason for the original distinction to have been drawn.

Obviously, these classifications are made due to the direct content of the text. So if a story specifically concerns love or romance, it will be classified as such. So, what would happen if we altered these associations? I believe that although in this respect, the text is very much subject to its classification; it is possible to vary the meaning if we alter the social forms in which it is accessed.

For example, the ingredients from a tin of baked beans would usually be regarded as non-fiction, literal text used specifically to identify the contents of the tin and would rarely be misinterpreted for something else. If we took this text and placed it in an anthology for modern poetry, and the reader accessed it in this new classification would the reader look upon it differently, would they absorb the text in a different classification? Would it become artistic or poetic? Many of the pieces were conference addresses and shorter items for small-circulation periodicals, and here they will undoubtedly reach a wider, appreciative audience.

The text can be chopped up into bits that fit anywhere:.


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Manguel is substituting mere aspects of reading for the whole of the experience—oversimplifying one of the most complex things we all do every day. My suspicion is that he does this toward two ends: The first of these ends is only natural, I suppose, but the second is dangerous.