My library is not a single beast but a composite of many others, a fantastic animal made up of the several libraries built and then abandoned, over and over again, throughout my life. I can’t remember a time in which I didn’t have a library of some sort. The present one is a sort of multilayered autobiography, each book holding the moment in which I opened it for the first time. The scribbles on the margins, the occasional date on the flyleaf, the faded bus ticket marking a page for a reason today mysterious, all try to remind me of who I was then. For the most part, they fail. My memory is less interested in me than in my books, and I find it easier to remember the story read once than the young man who then read it.Here's another truly amazing personal library to wander around.Albert Manguel, writer, translator and editor, explains in The New York Times the origins and organisation of his library of some 30,000 books in an old stone presbytery in France.
There's more about his collection in The Library at Night, and you can read an extract here. James McConnochie reviews it in The Times today.