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Episode 4

The author Alberto Manguel has to pack up his library of 35,000 volumes as he moves from rural France to a small Manhattan apartment. He reflects on what books mean to him.

Alberto Manguel has had consistent 5-star ratings for his books on reading, books and libraries. With regret, he packs up his library of 35,000 volumes and prepares to move from a vast property in rural France to a small apartment on Manhattan's West Side.

Choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, Manguel finds himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books and readers, books and collectors, order and disorder, memory and reading.

In this poignant re-evaluation of his life as a reader, he illuminates the highly personal art of reading and affirms the vital role of public libraries. Manguel's musings range widely - from delightful reflections on the idiosyncrasies of book lovers to deeper analyses of historic and catastrophic book events, including the burning of ancient Alexandria's library and contemporary library lootings at the hands of ISIS.

With insight and passion, the author underscores the universal centrality of books and their unique importance to a democratic, civilised, and engaged society.

Reader : Oliver Cotton
Author: Alberto Manguel
Abridger : Barry Johnston
Producer : David Roper

A Heavy Entertainment production for BBC Radio 4.

15 minutes

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Reader Oliver Cotton
Author Alberto Manguel
Abridger Barry Johnston
Producer David Roper

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