The Dust Jacket: Alejandro Zambra

Alejandro Zambra at NYPL's Books at NoonAlejandro Zambra was at New York Public Library promoting his latest book, My Documents, at the latest Books at Noon event.

During the interview, he spoke extensively about the “madness” of collecting vast personal libraries. He began to re-examine his attitude a few years ago after he was robbed. His first thought had been to rush past the tv and the computer, etc., and go to check on the rare first editions of Chilean poetry he had amassed. Standing there in front of the books- safely tucked away of course- he began to feel a bit foolish as he tried to imagine the kind of thief that would have known not only how to find those books- but how to sell them to make a profit off of them, too.

So, now he is considering the madness. Why do so many of us insist on owning so many books when we can only read so many? What makes buying books so different from all the other possessions we might collect? What is the value in having so many books that we refuse to share with others? To find his answers, you’ll have to follow his writing: he stuck to speculating on stage.

He was very careful with English but quite open and receptive to the audience’s questions and input. Vice has an extensive interview with Zambra up, as well, if you would like to read more of his style of speaking.

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