A READING DIARY: A Passionate Reader's Reflection on a Year of Books

Alberto Manguel, Author . Farrar, Straus & Giroux $20 (224p) ISBN 978-0-374-24742-3

Writer and critic Manguel's (Reading Pictures ) elegantly elliptical and wryly contemporary diary of cities revisited and books reread during 2002 and 2003 opens with a journey he undertakes to his birthplace, Buenos Aires, just after Argentina's economic crisis in December 2001. As Manguel's reading overlaps with jotted observations of Buenos Aires, he reflects on the meaning of homeland, and on memory. Nostalgia and the significance of cities—in personal and literary terms—are themes that preoccupy Manguel on further trips to London, Paris, Germany and Canada. Yet Manguel is less melancholic than thoughtful and joyfully postmodern. At home in rural France, his reflections range as widely as on his travels, emerging as he tidies his library, converses with writers Mavis Gallant and Rohinton Mistry, and receives visits from his adult children. His eclectic reading matter includes H.G. Wells, Conan Doyle, Margaret Atwood, Kipling and Goethe. And he quotes from many more writers: Chateaubriand, Virginia Woolf and Chesterton, to name but a few. Manguel delights in list making—whether of favorite detective novels, mad scientists or literary heroes. Manguel's exquisitely distilled style and gentle humility are pure pleasure. His diary is a gold mine of the unexpected, and his companionable, deeply cultivated persona will entrance all those who love to read and to ponder. Agent, Bruce Westwood. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Paperback - 205 pages - 978-0-312-42445-9
Paperback - 253 pages - 978-0-676-97591-8
Hardcover - 253 pages - 978-0-676-97590-1
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-1-84195-821-7
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