Yesterday during my lunch break I drove to our local public library and picked up an ILL of The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel to add to the books I am currently reading in my spare time. Here is an excerpt from the introduction of the book:
“…The starting point is a question.
Outside theology and fantastic literature, few can doubt that the main features of our universe are its dearth of meaning and lack of discernible purpose. And yet, with bewildering optimism, we continue to assemble whatever scraps of information we can gather in scrolls and books and computer chips, on shelf after library shelf, whether material, virtual or otherwise, pathetically intent on lending the world a semblance of sense and order, while knowing perfectly well that, however much we’d like to believe the contrary, our pursuits are sadly doomed to failure.
Why then do we do it? Though I knew from the start that the question would most likely remain unanswered, the quest seemed worthwhile for its own sake. This book is the story of that quest…”
Amazon describes the book thusly:
“…’The starting point is a question,’ Alberto Manguel writes in the introduction to The Library at Night: since few can doubt that the universe is ultimately meaningless and purposeless, why do we try to give it order? After all, our efforts are surely doomed to failure.
It’s hard to think of a more profound or serious subject to start with – but The Library at Night, Alberto Manguel says, is by no means a systematic answer. Rather, it is the story of the search for one. In the tradition of A History of Reading, this book is an account of Manguel’s astonishment at the variety, beauty and persistence of our efforts to shape the world and our lives, most notably through something almost as old as reading itself: libraries.
The result is both intimately personal and incredibly wide-ranging: it is a fascinating study of the mysteries of libraries, a thorough analysis of their history throughout the world and an esoteric, enchanting celebration of reading. It is, perhaps most of all, a book that only Alberto Manguel could have written…”
I also picked up and am reading the biography Gonzo: The Life of Hunter S. Thompson which is an interesting and fast read.