Wallace Stevens wrote a famous poem,Thirteen Ways of Looking At a Blackbird. Argentine born, French writer Alberto Manguel explores fifteen ways of thinking about a library in his 2006 book The Library at Night. I encountered this title in the international book group I mentioned a few posts back and found it at my local library.
Manguel delineates many ways that one can think about a library, from a system of order to a spatial arrangement on to a place of chance and through twelve more reflections on a collection of books. I enjoyed thinking about my own book collections, libraries I have known, my reading habits and the books in my childhood.
I have always lived surrounded by books, filling shelves, balancing by my bedside, piled alongside the bed, and basically occupying any horizontal surface wherever I have lived. As I read I frequently found myself thinking “I am not the only one.” I am not the only one who can’t find the one book I am looking for. I am not the only one who doesn’t finish every book I begin. I am not the only one still searching for a way to organize my shelves. I am not the only one who, no matter how frequently I try to pare down my library, still has books crammed willy-nilly on shelves already full.
A thoughtful and original series of reflections on owning, storing and reading books, the title should appeal to any bibliophile out there.