Staff Pick

No one writes more passionately, eloquently, and tenderly about books than Manguel. Few have so many. When he reluctantly left France, where he’d created a magnificent home for his 35,000 volumes from an old barn, it took him and many friends weeks to pack them all. While the “building blocks” of full cartons went into storage in Montreal, Manguel tried to live without them in New York City. Despite wandering his mental library and stopping at bookstalls to visit old friends, he felt bereft—like a tortoise without his shell, or like Quixote after the intervention that left him bookless. Deprived of the tangible volumes, Manguel distracted himself from his grief by composing this “self-obituary” and ten wonderful “digressions” that explore virtual books—unsatisfying because “you cannot truly possess a ghost (though the ghost can possess you)”; the mystery of literary creativity; the fabled lost library of Alexandria; and dictionaries, especially those that slip into the territory of encyclopedias, of which Manguel collected some thirty examples, including his own indispensable Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Far more than digressions, these are witty, illuminating, warm essays. Especially fascinating is Manguel’s meditation on the second commandment. Did the prohibition against graven images extend to artistic creations? Was the jealous God also a “jealous artist”? Manguel’s lament has a happy ending. He writes his last chapter from his new position as Director of the National Library of Argentina.

Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions Cover Image
ISBN: 9780300219333
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Yale University Press - March 20th, 2018

Staff Pick

I can’t stop thinking about the essays in Feel Free. Since I finished it, when my mind wanders, it wanders toward the relationship between Justin Bieber and Martin Buber, or the reasons to reread Edward St. Aubyn, or spend more time in the library, or delete my Facebook. I’m looking at the world through Smith’s eyes, which is a colossal treat. Following along with a Zadie Smith argument is one of the biggest pleasures the literary world has to offer. And for fans of her fiction, don’t worry—her voice in essay form is just as alive, her images just as vivid. There’s nothing in Feel Free not to love, and so much to think about. Enjoy.  

Feel Free: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594206252
Availability: Not On Our Shelves—Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Press - February 6th, 2018

Staff Pick

In a great collection of essays, Saachi Koul discusses a range of topics from rape to surveillance culture that affect the lives of women on a daily basis. She reflects with humor on her childhood growing up as a first generation Indian Canadian woman, and how she reconciles the two cultures.  

One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250121028
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Picador - May 2nd, 2017