Some weeks ago I had the pleasure to listen to Alberto [tag]Manguel[/tag] at a literary evening in Brussels. Shortly before I had read his delicious little book about Borges. I bought this in Spanish because I thought that the Argentinian born Manguel wrote in Spanish (moreover it is a book about Borges…) But as a child of a diplomatic father, he was mainly brought up by a governess that spoke English and German. Later he became a Canadian citizen and now he lives in France.
Like a modern Erasmus he wanders over this world and like Erasmus he reads and writes and is a catalyst for literature and ideas. What he is doing is actually a dream I have myself: being a reader as a profession. Of course he has to write about his reading to earn a living, but what is very important: he is not a critic. He stays a reader.
For this collection of thoughts he chose one book every month during a year. It is a lovely read even if you didn’t read all the books he talks about.
For instance, it made me buy Machado de Assis’ Memorias Postumas de Blas Cubas. Machado de Assis was a 19th century Brazilian writer (I have to read him in Spanish), a very special writer who seems to have influenced Borges and Cortázar. And perhaps I’m going to reread Kipling’s Kim. And certainly it was a stimulus to start reading Don Quijote.
Keep on reading, Alberto, and keep on sharing your thoughts with us.