No, this is not a book written to cover the history of the town close to London, England. Instead, it's a remarkable book that covers the history of the act of reading. You know, books.

Reading a book has not always been commonplace like it is now. At various stages of history it was frowned upon, especially when performed in public. And reading wasn't actually done much at all until a couple of centuries ago, when the printing press got invented and the oral tradition (storytelling) slowly diminished. "A History of Reading" takes the reader on a guided tour through 6000 years of history, of how mankind's perception of the written word changed, how word and world influenced each other.

To capture the contents of such a diverse, rich book in the span of a review would be to insult it. If you're interested in the history of literature from a reader's point of view and if you, like me, love to regularly lose yourself in the unique universe a piece of fiction can conjure up, "A History of Reading" will enhance forever your appreciation of the written word.

One cannot help but admire and respect the dedication that Manguel had obviously put in reading, and in writing this book. Through my reading it, he has taught me to re-appreciate the very act of letting my eyes move coherently across vast swathes of pages. It has kindled in me a desire to read. And to read more.

Released 1996, ISBN 0-14-016654-8



Written September 1998


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