Friday, May 16, 2008

Bibliophiliacs, Unite!

One of my favorite books is about books: The History of Reading, by Alberto Manguel. It is less a history than a love story of humans' love affair with reading, and of his own passionate entanglement with words.

Manguel is also the author of an astounding number of fiction and nonfiction books (and co-author of the enchanting guidebook The Dictionary of Imaginary Places), editor of many anthologies, and a translator into and from English, French and Spanish. I am pleased to see that he has an extensive website, and am adding him to my blogroll forthwith.

He lives in a 15th-century stone house in France, where he has a 30,000-volume library that he wrote about in yesterday's Times, describing his different libraries from many moves around the world and how he finally reunited them. This puts my small collection to shame, though it, too, has a history and includes two of my first books: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Hobbit (is it any wonder that I am still an unrealistic dreamer?).

As with my records, I divested myself of many of my books over the course of my last few moves. But there are times I go to my shelves, looking for a title that is gone, and miss it as I would a long-departed lover.

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