Text Patterns - by Alan Jacobs

Thursday, May 6, 2010

books as home

Here’s a wonderful interview — alas, too brief — with Alberto Manguel. Some choice bits:

I don't think the book of paper and ink will disappear, as long as we allow for technologies to coexist. The notion that one must replace the other is simply the urge of the new to exist alone on the planet, but it doesn't happen. . . .

It used to be that readers were relegated because they considered themselves far above society, and so the metaphor of the ivory tower developed. Now there's still this idea that the reader doesn't take part in the social game and in politics, the res publica, but for other reasons: he doesn't do it because he's not making any money.

I remember, as a child, the confusion of not knowing what this place was where I was supposed to spend the night: it's a disquieting experience for a child. And what I would do was quickly unpack my books and go back to a book I knew well and make sure the same text and the same illustrations were there. There was always an immense sense of relief. That was home.

Manguel also convinces me that I have been remiss in never visiting the Warburg Institute’s Library in London.


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