Books on Books: Writers and Readers – New Offering for 2019 / 2020

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Biweekly, Wednesday, 2 – 4, Week 1    

For the first two meetings of this workshop, we will discuss three books of Alberto Manguel:
A History of Reading (1996), A Reader on Reading (2010) and Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions (2018). Manguel is called “the Casanova of reading” or “a reader’s reader”. Inspired by his erudition and bibliophilia, we will go on to investigate other writers who are similarly inclined. As we read these writers on books, writers, and readers, we will consider Manguel’s assertion that words, in spite of everything, lend coherence to the world and offer us “a few safe places, as real as paper and as bracing as ink” in our passage through life. Each participant will be expected to read a book for every session and to make one 20-minute presentation during the year. A comprehensive bibliography will be provided, but participants may suggest other relevant titles to present.



Carolyn Murray (  was a librarian at the University of Toronto for 30 years. She holds two M.A.’s: History (’62) and Theology (’08). She has facilitated at the Academy since 2008 leading workshops in religion, biography, autobiography, Indian fiction and, most recently, travel writing.

Esme McMonagle ( is a retired social worker having worked many years in the field of children’s mental health.  Following that she spent several years teaching college on a part-time basis.  Reading, photography and dogs are among her passions.  This is Esme’s third year with the Academy.


Workshop Notes:

Books on Books – Writers and Readers – Introduction and Bibliography