The Library at Night

I recently read a review of Alberto Manguel’s The Library at Night in the LA Times. It sounds like an interesting read-I’ve heard of his With Borges, but haven’t yet read it. While The Library at Night sounds like a mix of memoir, general history and musings, the review got me thinking about the library as dramatic setting. One of my favorites is the rather creepy and ambiguous tale, The Ghost Writer by John Harwood. The scenes in the British Library stuck with me, and I wish I could visit it! (In the book, the Library is still part of the British Museum). When I finally visited the British Museum in 2005, I was disappointed. While their reading room is nice, it’s much smaller, and very different from the spooky Victorian locale detailed in The Ghost Writer. I’ll have to make a special visit to the British Library, the next time I’m in London. Have any of you visited there? And what are your favorite stories set in libraries? What do you like about them?

2 thoughts on “The Library at Night”

  1. I’ve been to the British Library but it’s a new, modern building, so may also not be the “spooky Victorian locale” in the book you read (maybe that was their previous building?). There’s an amazing exhibit room in the British Library, though, which is totally worth seeing. They’ve got the coolest stuff on display — original ancient texts in dead languages, a copy of the Magna Carta (!), a Gutenberg Bible, Da Vinci’s handwritten notebooks (!!), Lewis Carroll’s handwritten manuscript of Alice in Wonderland (illustrated by him, too) (!!!), drafts of Beatles lyrics scribbled down by Lennon and McCartney… it’s just incredible to see all these original drafts of famous works, from a span of a thousand years of history or so, all in one room. I HIGHLY recommend it. 馃檪

  2. I’ll have to add it to my next trip! (Though we’ll see if it’s a solo outing, or if I can convince any of my traveling companions to join me!) 馃檪

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