Thursday, March 18, 2004


Alberto Manguel always manages to present the most interesting topics to his readers. The man has his finger on the pulse of all manner of literary curiosity, such things as imaginary places, the history of reading, and how to glean a story from a picture on a wall. And does this man know how to anthologize?! Well, yes, he does: fantastic fiction, gay fiction, political fiction, erotic fiction [and that's just a few genres that come to mind]. He's also a regular contributor to Geist magazine. And he's also a translator. Oh, and did I mention that, as a teenager in Buenos Aires, he spent evenings reading to the increasingly blind Jorge Luis Borges?

This is the subject of his latest book, With Borges [or Reading to Borges, as it's listed on amazon.ca]. I'm ashamed to say I have not read a substantial amount of Borges, but will be relying on this secondary source to lead me into the labyrinth.

Other intriguing Borges links: The Garden of Forking Paths at The Modern Word; The Secret Books, a lovely photographic flash site; and The Borgesian Cyclopaedia, "being a virtual reference to the world of Jorge Luis Borges".

And here's the library that always reminds me of the Library of Babel. When I sat in the subdued light of its reading room measuring chain lines and identifying watermarks, breathing in red rot, and cursing the necessity to transcribe in quasi-facsimile format, I felt as though I could have died happy there and then [of course, I wouldn't have admitted to it at the time]. And as long as I'm on the topic, there is currently an exhibition of note on display at Fisher: Philosophy & Bibliophily is showing until April 30th.

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