Dec 6, 2013
Alberto Manguel is an Argentine-born writer, translator, and editor, and the author of many books of both non-fiction, including A History of Reading (1996), The Library at Night (2007) and Homer's Iliad and Odyssey: A Biography (2008); and fiction ( News From a Foreign Country Came , 1991). We met at the Kingston WritersFest; I asked him to recount some of his favourite experiences in bookstores and libraries around the world.
First he pointed out that libraries and bookstores, in spite of their being public places, are really private spaces that each reader makes his or her own home: a sort of autobiography, where the books that interest you contain words that mirror your own experience. We talk about a Tel Aviv bookstore he visited 60 years ago, bookshop stickers, the reconstructed library of Aby Warburg in Hamburg, and treasures found by chance in used bookstores on Avenida Corrientes in Buenos Aires. Manguel's novel A Return, sketches the character of one of the old booksellers on this street.