Transcript: Alberto Manguel on his book A Reading Diary | Nov 13, 2004

Alberto Manguel stands in a bookstore and addresses an unseen audience.
Alberto is in his fifties, with sparse gray hair and a full white beard. he’s wearing rimless glasses, a black suit and a black shirt.
A logo on screen reads “U of T bookstore.”
A picture shows a book by Alberto.

Alberto says WHEN, UH, I
DECIDED TO PUT TOGETHER THIS,
THIS READING DIARY, WHAT
HAPPENED WAS THAT, UH, AFTER
HAVING WRITTEN A HISTORY OF
READING AND THEN GONE ON TO
WRITE ABOUT THE READING OF
IMAGES AND ALSO DIFFERENT
ESSAYS ON READINGS OF DIFFERENT
KINDS.
I THOUGHT IT MIGHT BE TIME TO
SHOW WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS WHEN
YOU READ.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Alberto Manguel. Author, ‘A reading diary.’ U of T Bookstore Reading Series. October 1, 2004."

Alberto continues WE HAVE
BEEN TOLD THAT WE'RE--OR OUR
SOCIETY CONSTANTLY TELLS US
THAT READING IS A SECLUDED ACT,
THAT IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU DO
IN A CORNER, THAT YOU DON'T
LEAD THE REAL ACTIVE LIFE WHEN
YOU READ.
IN FACT THAT YOU ESCAPE FROM LIFE WHEN
YOU READ.
AND OF COURSE, EVERY READER
KNOWS THAT IT'S EXACTLY THE
CONTRARY, THAT THROUGH READING,
IT IS REALLY WHEN YOU ARE IN
TOUCH WITH LIFE.
AND...ON THE, UH, ON THE
ASSUMPTION THAT WE SHOULD SHOW
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE READ AND
HOW FRAGMENTARY AND OPEN THE
ACTIVITY IS, I DECIDED THAT I
WOULD PUT TOGETHER A DIARY OF A
YEAR OF READING.
NOW, UM, I DON'T ACTUALLY KEEP
A DIARY.
I, I KEEP NOTEBOOKS.
I'VE KEPT NOTEBOOKS FOR A VERY
LONG TIME WHERE I JOT DOWN
INTERESTING PASSAGES,
COMMENTARIES THAT OCCURRED TO
ME ON THOSE PASSAGES AND ALL
SORTS OF TRIVIAL THINGS LIKE
SHOPPING LISTS AND BILLS THAT
HAVE TO BE PAID AT THE END OF
THE WEEK AND SO ON.
BUT, UM, HOWEVER, OUT OF THAT
MATERIAL, I WAS ABLE TO CULL,
UH, ENOUGH WRITING TO SET UP
THIS BOOK AND I THOUGHT A YEAR
WOULD BE A SUFFICIENT LENGTH OF
TIME AND I WANTED ONE BOOK TO
GUIDE ME EACH MONTH.
I'M AT AN AGE WHERE I PREFER TO
REREAD THAN READ NEW THINGS.
UM, AND SO IT WAS REREADING
THAT GUIDED THE CHOICE AND SO
THESE, THESE BOOKS RANGE FROM
“DON QUIXOTE” TO “CONAN DOYLE,”
FROM Goethe TO
MARGARET ATWOOD.
I'M GOING TO READ TO YOU THE
MONTH OF DECEMBER 2002 AND THE
NOTES I TOOK FOR THAT MONTH.
THE BOOK I CHOSE TO READ IS
“THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS.”

Alberto reads and says
“SUNDAY.
THE HOUSE, WHICH WE BOUGHT TWO
YEARS AGO IS A WONDERFUL HOUSE,
A MAGICAL HOUSE.
IT RISES ON A SMALL HILL WHERE
ONCE STOOD A TEMPLE TO
DIONYSUS, NOW REPLACED BY A
CHURCH DEDICATED TO ST. MARTIN.
THE CHURCH, WHICH WE SHARE, UM,
UM, WITH WHICH WE SHARE A WALL,
DATES BACK TO THE 13TH CENTURY,
SO WE BELIEVE THE HOUSE WAS
BUILT AROUND THAT TIME AND THEN
WAS ENLARGED FOUR OR FIVE
CENTURIES LATER.
THE ADJACENT BARN COLLAPSED IN
THE EARLY 1800'S.
LAST SPRING, WE HAD THE WALLS
RESTORED AND NOW IT HOLDS THE
LIBRARY.
TOGETHER BOTH BUILDINGS FORM AN
OPEN SQUARE, EACH TRUNCATED END
MARKED BY A PIGEON TOWER.
BEYOND LIES THE GARDEN AND A
SMALL ORCHARD PLANTED OVER WHAT
WAS ONCE A CEMETERY, SO THAT
THE PLUMS, CHERRIES, FIGS AND
NUTS THAT WE ARE PROMISED IN
THE SUMMER HAVE FED ON ANCIENT
BONES.
AFTER WE FIRST SAW THE HOUSE IN
THE FALL OF 2000, I DREAMT
CONSTANTLY OF IT, PERHAPS
BECAUSE I HADN'T OWNED A PLACE,
A HOME TO CALL MINE FOR THE
PAST TEN YEARS.”
I LEFT CANADA IN 1992.
“WE HAD RENTED HERE AND THERE
AND MADE BELIEVE THE PLACE WE
LIVED IN WERE OURS, BUT NOW
THIS HOUSE, UNBELIEVABLY, IS
HOME.
TWO DECEMBERS AGO, I SAT IN THE
GRAND HOTEL IN POITIER, WAITING
FOR THE OWNERS OF THE HOUSE TO
AGREE ON A DATE FOR THE SIGNING
AND READ “THE WIND IN THE
WILLOWS.”
I'VE PICKED IT UP AGAIN TO
CELEBRATE OUR SECOND CHRISTMAS
IN THE HOUSE.
I DON'T REMEMBER WHEN I READ IT
FIRST OR WHAT I THOUGHT OF IT
THEN, BUT I'VE ALWAYS FELT A
FONDNESS FOR IT WITHOUT KNOWING
PRECISELY WHY.
READING IT NOW, I REALIZE MY
CHOICE WAS EXACTLY RIGHT.
“THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS” IS
ALL ABOUT HOME.
IN THE MIDST OF SOMETHING LIKE
DESPAIR WOULD WE EVER FIND THE
RIGHT PLACE AND NOSTALGIA?
REMEMBER THE VIEW FROM THE
KITCHEN WINDOW OF THE SMALL
HOUSE IN TORONTO?
REMEMBER THE FIRE PLACE, THE
TIN MOULDINGS ON THE CEILING?
I COME ACROSS THIS LINE, “WE'RE
GOING TO FIND THAT HOME OF
YOURS OLD FELLOW--” THIS IS RAT
SPEAKING--”SO YOU HAD BETTER
COME ALONG, FOR IT WILL TAKE
SOME FINDING AND WE SHALL WANT
YOUR NOSE.”
NOSE, OF COURSE, IS WHAT WE
ALWAYS NEED.
“MONDAY.
THERE IS SOMETHING LIKE SNOW IN
THE AIR, BUT NOT QUITE, JUST
ENOUGH TO REMIND US OF DECEMBER
IN CANADA.
WE MISS THE SNOW.”
THIS IS A LINE BY RAT.
“SNOW MAKES EVERYTHING LOOK SO
VERY DIFFERENT.”
“FRIDAY.
VERY COLD, BUT SUNNY.
FOR A FEW HOURS THIS MORNING,
EVERY LEAF OF GRASS, EVERY TWIG
WAS COVERED WITH BRILLIANT FUR-
LIKE FROST.
THE GARDEN LOOKS UNCANNY.
WHEN RAT AND MOLE, LOST IN THE
SNOW STORM IN THE WILD WOOD,
FINALLY KNOCK ON Mr. BADGERS'
DOOR, THEY HEAR THE SOUND OF
SLOW SHUFFLING FOOTSTEPS
APPROACHING THE DOOR FROM
INSIDE, WHICH SEEMS TO MOLE,
“LIKE SOMEONE WALKING IN CARPET
SLIPPERS THAT WERE TOO LARGE
FOR HIM AND DOWN AT HEEL.”
NOW THAT SHUFFLING SOUND REMINDS ME OF A
TERRIFYING MOMENT IN A KIPLING
STORY 'THE WISH HOUSE,” WHEN
THE UNSEEN CREATURE THAT IS
ABLE TO GRANT WISHES MOVES
BEHIND THE CLOSED DOOR.
KIPLING SAYS, “LIKE A HEAVY
WOMAN IN SLIPPERS.”
THE SOUND THAT IS COMFORTING IN
“THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS” TURNS
NIGHTMARISH IN “THE WISH HOUSE.”
“MONDAY.
RICHARD UTRUM TELLS CRAIG--
THAT'S MY COMPANION, CRAIG--
THAT BARBARA HIS WIFE, DIED
LAST NIGHT.
HER ENGRAVINGS WITH RICHARD'S
POEMS HAND UPSTAIRS IN THE
HOUSE.
CRAIG HAS A FIERY LANDSCAPE BY
HER ORANGE, YELLOW AND PURPLE
IN HIS OFFICE.
IT ILLUMINATES THE ROOM.
IT SEEMS IMPOSSIBLE THAT WE
WILL NEVER SEE HER, SPEAK WITH
HER AGAIN.
EVER.
I AM FURIOUS AT THE TAKING AWAY
OF THINGS, AT THESE BRUTAL
CHANGES AND THE OLDER I GET,
THE FASTER CHANGES HAPPEN,
FRIENDS DISAPPEAR, LANDSCAPES
CLUTTER.
I WANT MY FRIENDS TO BE THERE
ALWAYS.
I WANT THE PLACES I LIKE TO
STAY THE SAME.
I WANT THERE TO BE CERTAIN
FIXED POINTS IN THE UNIVERSE IN
WHICH I CAN COUNT.
I DON'T WANT TO KEEP MISSING
VOICES, FACES, NAMES.
I WANT TO BE ABLE TO MOVE
AROUND BLINDFOLDED.
I DON'T WANT TO HAVE TO LEARN
MY WAY AROUND A ROOM AGAIN AND
AGAIN.
I WANT TO BE ABLE TO START
CONVERSATIONS WITHOUT ANY KIND
OF PREAMBLE OR INTRODUCTION.
MIDNIGHT.
THE WORD “NOSTALGIA” WAS
INVENTED ON JUNE 22, 1688 BY
JOHANNES HOFFER AN
Alsatian MEDICAL STUDENT
BY COMBINING THE WORD
NOSTOS, RETURN
WITH THE WORD ALGOS,
PAIN IN HIS
MEDICAL THESES Disertatio Medica de Nostalgia,
TO DESCRIBE THE SICKNESS OF
SWISS SOLDIERS KEPT FAR AWAY
FROM THEIR MOUNTAINS.
FRIDAY.
KENNETH GRAHAM IS MASTERLY AT
DESCRIBING COMFORT.
HE SAYS, “THE BADGERS WINTER
STORES, WHICH INDEED WERE
VISIBLE EVERYWHERE TOOK UP HALF
THE ROOM.
PILES OF APPLES, TURNIPS AND
POTATOES, BASKETS FULL OF NUTS
AND JARS OF HONEY, BUT THE TWO
LITTLE WHITE BEDS ON THE
REMAINDER OF THE FLOOR LOOKED
SOFT AND INVITING AND THE LINEN
ON THEM, SO COURSE, WAS CLEAN
AND SMELLED BEAUTIFULLY OF LAVENDER.”
READING A DESCRIPTION LIKE THIS,
ESPECIALLY IN MY ADOLESCENCE,
MADE ME FANTASIZE FOR HOURS OF
A PLACE OF MY OWN AND WHAT IT
WOULD LOOK LIKE.
30 YEARS BEFORE WRITING 'THE
WIND IN THE WILLOWS,” GRAHAM
HAD A DREAM.
HE FOUND HIMSELF, HE SAYS, “IN
A CERTAIN LITTLE ROOM, VERY
DEAR AND FAMILIAR, SOLITARY,
THE WORLD WALLED OUT, BUT FULL
OF A BROODING SENSE OF PEACE
AND POSSESSION, ALWAYS MODEST,
OH SO VERY MODEST, BUT ALWAYS
MY VERY OWN, AND WHAT WAS MORE,
EVERYTHING IN THE ROOM WAS
EXACTLY RIGHT.”
“A FEW TIMES I, TOO, HAVE HAD
THE SENSE THAT EVERYTHING IN
THE ROOM WAS EXACTLY RIGHT.
LATER...

He clears his throat and continues
“I CAN TELL WHAT IT WILL BE LIKE TO LIVE IN
A CERTAIN house AS SOON AS I CROSS
THE THRESHOLD.
THE EMPATHY, OR LACK OF, IS
IMMEDIATE.
IN THE picaresque novel El Lazarillo de Torres,
THE HERO NOTES, “THERE ARE
UNHAPPY AND ILL-ROOTED HOUSES
THAT STICK THEIR MISFORTUNE
ONTO THOSE WHO LIVE IN THEM.
THE SAME IS TRUE FOR PLACES
THAT ARE JOYFUL.”
“THIS EVENING WE START WRAPPING
CHRISTMAS PRESENTS.
EXPLAINING HOME.
IN TODAY'S
NEW YORK
TIMES,
THE ANNOUNCEMENT THAT THE BUSH
ADMINISTRATION HAS RECRUITED
PROMINENT AMERICAN WRITERS TO
EXPLAIN THE UNITED STATES TO
MUSLIM COUNTRIES IN SPITE, I
QUOTE, “OF CONGRESSIONAL FEARS
OF THE GOVERNMENT
PROPAGANDIZING THE AMERICAN
PEOPLE,” UNQUOTE, WRITERS SUCH
AS RICHARD FORD, JULIA ALVAREZ,
ROBERT PINSKI, SVEN Birkerts, ROBERT OLIN
BUTLER AND Bharati Mukherjee
AGREE TO CONTRIBUTE TO AN ALL-
AMERICAN FEST THRIFT.
TRUE, AT ALL TIMES GREAT
WRITERS HAVE LENT THEIR VOICES
TO POLITICAL PROPAGANDA—
VIRGIL’S ennead WAS FOR
AUGUSTUS, A HANDY JUSTIFICATION
FOR HIS CLAIM TO DIVINE POWER.
AND YET, IT STILL ASTONISHES ME
TO SEE WITH WHAT NAIVETY
WRITERS AS INTELLIGENT AS
PINSKI ALLOW THEIR WORK TO BE
USED BY THE GOVERNMENT.
PHRASES SUCH AS--THIS IS
RICHARD FORD WRITING--”BEING AN
AMERICAN AND A WRITER, NO LESS,
HAS SERVED ME VERY WELL INDEED.
WE'LL DO LITTLE TO TEMPER THE
LOATHING THAT AMERICAN POLICIES
HAVE BRED IN MOST COUNTRIES
AROUND THE WORLD.”
CHESTERTON HAS THIS TO SAY ON
PATRIOTISM.
“MY COUNTRY, RIGHT OR WRONG--IS
LIKE SAYING ME MOTHER, DRUNK OR SOBER.”

[Audience chuckling]

Alberto continues “MONDAY.
OVID'S Tristia, THE
POEMS HE WROTE AFTER HE HAD
BEEN EXILED TO THE DREADFUL
OUTPOST OF THOMAS BY AUGUSTUS
ARE MOSTLY IN THE FORM OF
LETTERS TO FRIENDS AND ENEMIES
LAMENTING HIS ABSENCE FROM ROME
AND HIS LONELINESS IN THE
BARREN, TREELESS LANDSCAPE.
IT OCCURS TO ME THAT “THE WIND
IN THE WILLOWS” IS THE REVERSE
OF OVID'S Tristia.
I HAVE NEVER FELT IN EXILE UNLIKE SO
MANY OF THE WRITERS I'VE MET.
I REMEMBER THE CUBAN GROUP IN
PARIS CLUSTERED AROUND THE
NOVELIST, AVERO SARDUI, ALWAYS
CONSCIOUS OF NOT BEING IN THE
PLACE THEY HAD BEEN COMPELLED
TO LEAVE.
SARDUI WAS
VERY AWARE THAT EXILE HAD MADE
HIM NOSTALGIC FOR A COUNTRY
THAT NO LONGER EXISTED, PERHAPS
HAD NEVER EXISTED AT LEAST AS
HE REMEMBERED IT, A COUNTRY
CREATED BY LAYERS AND LAYERS OF
MEMORY, EMBROIDERED, CORRECTED,
RESHAPED.
HE BELIEVED THE EVEN THE PLACES
WE LIVE IN BECOME TRANSFORMED
THROUGH OUR PREJUDICE, WHIMS,
LIMITED EXPERIENCE, THROUGH THE
FACT THAT WE WALK ONE ROUTE AND
NOT ANOTHER FROM OUR HOUSE TO
THE BAKERS OR THAT WE CHOOSE
ONE CAFE, ONE PARK, ONE GROCER,
FROM THE VARIETY OF SITES THAT
MAKE UP A CERTAIN CITY.
IN THIS SENSE, EVERY PLACE IS
IMAGINARY.
SARDUI USED THE DESCRIPTION
COLUMBUS GAVE CUBA, WHICH THE
ADMIRAL, AS YOU KNOW, BELIEVED
WAS INDIA, TO DESCRIBE A VISIT,
HE HIMSELF, MADE TO INDIA
NOSTALGIC FOR HIS CUBA.
IT'S, IT'S A WONDERFUL PASSAGE.
“FOR THE EXILED, TIME BACK HOME
HAS COME TO A STOP.
FOR HIM, EVERY CUSTOM, EVERY
CATCHPHRASE, EVERY RITUAL IS
IRREVERENTLY PRESERVED.
IN THIS SLEEPING BEAUTY
HOMELAND, CHILDHOOD FRIENDS,
UNCHANGED OF COURSE, STILL
MOURN OUR DEPARTURE, BILLBOARDS
STILL ADVERTISE THE SAME
BRANDS.”
I REMEMBER GOING BACK TO BUENOS
AIRES FOR THE FIRST TIME AFTER
I HAD LEFT IT IN 1968 AND BEING
SURPRISED, JUST FOR A MOMENT,
THAT THE BILLBOARDS WERE NOT
ADVERTISING THE SAME THINGS.

[Audience chuckling]

Alberto resumes reading and says
“OVID COMPARES HIS DEATH IN EXILE TO
THAT OF THE DYING SWAN UTTERING
ITS FINAL NOTES AMIDST THE
SURROUNDING SILENCE.
'MY OWN DEATH SHALL BE LIKE
THIS,' HE SAYS, 'BUT I, MYSELF,
SHALL PERFORM THE LAST RITES.'
“WEDNESDAY.
I NOTICE THAT I HURRY THROUGH
“TOAD'S ADVENTURES.”
IN THE CHAPTER CALLED, “RETURN
OF ULYSSES,” THE RECLAIMING OF
TOAD HALL FROM THE WEASELS HAS
A CERTAIN EPIC GRANDEUR, BUT
TOAD BEHAVES LIKE A SPOILED
BRAT AND HAS MORE OF SULKY
ACHILLES THAN OF THE SUBTLE
KING OF ITHACA.
ON THE OTHER HAND, I CAN READ
THE CHAPTER “THE PIPER AT THE
GATES OF DAWN” 100 TIMES.
SO BEAUTIFUL AND STRANGE AND
NEW, SINCE IT WAS TO END SO
SOON, I ALMOST WISH I HAD NEVER
HEARD IT, FOR IT HAS ROUSED A
LONGING IN ME THAT IS PAIN AND
NOTHING SEEMS WORTHWHILE, BUT
JUST TO HEAR THAT SOUND ONCE
MORE AND GO ON LISTENING TO IT
FOREVER.
PAGES LIKE THIS TAKE PLACE
WITHOUT TRANSLATION INTO
MEANING--SWIFTLY--AND THEN
WE'RE BACK INTO THE REALM OF
REASONING AND UNDERSTANDING.”
SO MANY TIMES I HAVE COME
ACROSS PASSAGES AND SOMETIMES
OLD BOOKS THAT ARE SO UTTERLY
BEAUTIFUL TO ME THAT THEY
ESCAPE MEANING.
I HAVE THE SENSE THAT I HAVE
APPREHENDED THEM COMPLETELY, I
KNOW WHAT THEY'RE ABOUT, BUT
THE ONLY WAY I COULD TELL YOU
WHAT THEY MEAN IS TO READ THE
BOOK BACK TO YOU.
“FRIDAY.
A FRIEND GIVES ME A
REPRODUCTION OF “THE MAP OF THE
WILD WOOD AND SURROUNDINGS.”
THAT SHEPARD DREW FOR THE END
PAPER PAGES OF GRAHAM'S BOOK.
Cookham Dean ON THE THAMES
IS THE SETTING FOR “THE WIND IN
THE WILLOWS.”
HERE GRAHAM LIVED WHEN HE WROTE
THE BOOK WITH HIS WIFE AND
THEIR SON ALISTAIR KNOWN
AFFECTIONATELY AS “MOUSE.”
APPARENTLY, “THE WIND AND THE
WILLOWS” WAS FIRST TOLD TO THE
FOUR-YEAR-OLD ALISTAIR AFTER
WHAT GRAHAM CALLED “A BAD
CRYING FIT” ON THE NIGHT OF HIS
BIRTHDAY.
EPISODE AFTER EPISODE TILL
MIDNIGHT.
YEARS LATER, ALISTAIR WAS KILLED IN
OXFORD IN AN UNEXPLAINED
ACCIDENT.
SUDDENLY, THE BOOK BECOMES AND
ELEGY.
AMONG THE CELEBRATORY REMAINS
OF WRAPPING PAPER AND CHRISTMAS
FOOD, I SEE THAT LEMOND HAS A
LONG ARTICLE ON THE COPYRIGHT
OF LANDSCAPES.
AFTER THE SALE OF MUSEUM REPRODUCTION
RIGHTS TO MULTINATIONAL
COMPANIES, LOCAL GOVERNMENTS,
ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATIONS
AND PRIVATE LANDOWNERS HAVE
BEGUN TO CLAIM RIGHTS OVER
CERTAIN NATURAL VIEWS.
MONUMENTS SUCH AS THE EIFFEL
TOWER CAN BE PHOTOGRAPHED FOR
FREE DURING THE DAY, BUT THE
RIGHT TO REPRODUCE THE LIT
SYMBOL OF PARIS AT NIGHT
BELONGS TO A PRIVATE COMPANY.
AMONG THE EXAMPLES OF VISUAL
PRIVATE PROPERTY, THE VIEWS
FROM THE CLIFFS OF CASSIS NEAR
MARSEILLES, THE BOATS ON THE
BEACH OF
[Indiscernible]
IN SOUTHERN FRANCE,
THE Estuary of Trieux IN BRITTANY.
WILL A FUTURE KENNETH GRAHAM
HAVE TO PAY SOME LARGE
CORPORATION FOR THE USE OF HIS
MEMORIES ON THE Cookham Dean
ON THE THAMES?”
I, I HAVE A FOLDER MARKED “ODD
CLIPPINGS” AND I KEEP ALL SORTS
OF BIZARRE THINGS IN THERE AND
I, I FIND THIS.
I THINK I CLIPPED IT FROM THE
HERALD TRIBUNE.

He reads
“ON JANUARY 18, 1949, AN AMERICAN BY THE
NAME OF JAMES T. MAGAN, FILED A
CHARGE WITH THE COOK COUNTY
RECORDER OF DEEDS AND UNDER THE
STATE ATTORNEY'S AUTHORITY,
CLAIMED OWNERSHIP TO THE WHOLE
OF SPACE.

[Audience laughing]

Alberto continues “AFTER
GIVING HIS VAST TERRITORY THE
NAME OF “CELESTIA” Mr. MAGAN
NOTIFIED ALL COUNTRIES ON EARTH
OF HIS CLAIM, WARNED THEM NOT
TO ATTEMPT ANY TRIPS TO THE
MOON AND PETITIONED THE UNITED
NATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP.

[Audience chuckling]

Alberto continues WE DON'T KNOW.

He clears his throat and continues
THIS IS THE
LAST ENTRY FOR TUESDAY.
“FOUL WEATHER.
TOMORROW IS THE BEGINNING OF
2003.
WE'LL SPEND NEW YEAR'S EVE AT
THE SMALL RESTAURANT NEAR
[Indiscernible].
LAST DECEMBER 31ST, THEY DREW
BACK THE CURTAINS AT MIDNIGHT
AND SET UP A MINISCULE
FIREWORKS DISPLAY FOR US.
PERHAPS THEY'LL DO IT AGAIN
THIS YEAR.”
IT WAS ABSOLUTELY ENCHANTING.
IT WAS ABOUT AS HIGH AS THIS.

He gestures about a metre and continues
“IN TORONTO, THERE WILL BE SNOW NOW.
WE REMEMBER CHRISTMAS VISITS TO
BARBARA HOWARD AND RICHARD Utram
And the white garden outside the window.
And Barbara’s rich voice and strong beautiful hands.
Living in France I know that you can feel utterly at home in a place that is not the one to which you feel the deepest attachment.
Mole would agree.
Thank you.

[Applause]

A picture of “A reading diary” by Alberto Manguel appears on screen briefly.

Watch: Alberto Manguel on his book A Reading Diary