Our aim in this experiment has been to attempt a loose, communal reading experience without the time pressure (or any pressure) of a regular book club—and to allow us all to enjoy the savory bits together on our own time instead of assembling a formal, highly structured meal.

In this kind of book club, you’re welcome any time, and there’s no “too late.” The Library at Night is a book for magpies and meanderers, so there are no plot points to spoil: the dinner party is distributed.

Readers in conversation

This week’s brief conversation with Alberto Manguel is accompanied by a wide-ranging conversation between the book and its readers. As we begin week seven of the book club, The Library at Night has accrued 98 comments and 586 highlights spread across individual Readmill readings and a whole collection of tweeted quotations and commentary.

On their blogs, Mandy Brown has written that future online archives will help us to make connections among our reading and help us overcome our penchant for forgetting, and Erik Westra has shared a serendipitous musical connection he made while reading The Library at Night. As the first few readers finish the book, they’ve begun to leave closing remarks on Readmill:

“Manguel’s love of libraries is contagious. Fifteen essays, fifteen metaphors—they pushed me to consider tensions b/w public and private, real and imagined, inclusion and exclusion, old and new, static and fluid. A well-researched, unpretentious book about the pleasures of reading and discovery.” —John Benson

“Living in a country where threats of closure loom large over many of our smaller public libraries, much of this book served as a timely reminder of their status as beacons of liberty and equality—a shared learning space for the young and old, rich and poor, mobile and immobile. Together we explore the most extraordinary avenues and pathways into different words from the one we left outside.” —Richard Ingram

“Meandering and associative. One has to be open to getting lost.” —Allen Tan

More to come

We’ve started to post some interviews with Alberto Manguel on Library at Night over on our Tumblr. We’re just getting started—as this issue wraps up, look for podcasts, lectures, reviews, responses, and more. And for all our talk of distribution, there’s still something to be said for getting to a book while others are still talking about it. This issue of Contents runs for another few weeks, so do jump in, grab a copy in any format, and get lost in the library with us.