Tag Archives: Books & Reading

since he had read the Word, the Word was now lodged inside him, even if he had not met the Author; that he had become the Book, the Word made flesh, through that little bit of the divine that the craft of reading allows to all those who seek to learn the secrets held by a page.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Manuel The Library at Night read word lodged inside become book word made flesh divine craft reading seek learn secrets held by page

The past (the tradition that leads to our electronic present) is, for the Web user, irrelevant, since all that counts is what is currently displayed. Compared to a book that betrays its age in its physical aspect, a text called up on the screen has no history. Electronic space is frontierless. Sites-that is to say, specific, self-defined homelands-are founded on it but neither limit nor possess it, like water on water. The Web is quasi-instantaneous; it occupies no time except the nightmare of a constant present. All surface and no volume, all present and no past, the Web aspires to be (advertises itself as) every user’s home, in which communication is possible with every other user at the speed of thought. That is its main characteristic: speed.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library]

Hermetic quote Manguel The Lbrary at Night web quasi-instantaneous occupies no time except a nightmare of a constant present

We lend libraries the qualities of our hopes and nightmares; we believe we understand libraries conjured up from the shadows; we think of books that we feel should exist for our pleasure, and undertake the task of inventing them unconcerned about any threat of inaccuracy or foolishness, any terror of writer’s cramp or writer’s block, any constraints of time and space.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher]

Hermetic quote Manguel The Library at Night libraries our hopes nightmares books pleasure inventing unconcerned

If reading is a craft that allows us to remember the common experience of humankind, it follows that totalitarian governments will try to suppress the memory held by the page. Under such circumstances, the reader’s struggle is against oblivion.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night [Bookshop, Amazon, Publisher]

Hermetic quote Manuel Library at Night reader's struggle against oblivion

Every library both embraces and rejects. Every library is by definition the result of choice, and necessarily limited in its scope. And every choice excludes another, the choice not made. The act of reading parallels endlessly the act of censorship.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night [Bookshop, Amazon, Publisher]

Hermetic quote Manguel Library at Night embraces rejects limited scope choice reading censorship

The books he read as a scholar, full of the wisdom of the ancients, must have been balanced in his mind by the questions left unanswered and the treatises never written. His own library of parchment and paper was grounded by his imaginary library of forgotten or neglected subjects of study and reflection.

Alberto Manguel, The Library at Night [Bookshop, Amazon, Publisher]

Hermetic quote Manguel Library parchment paper imaginary forgotten neglected