Jaipur: Libraries for most people serve as mere book repositories but for Canadian writer Alberto Manguel they are autobiographies of its owners.
Manguel, who holds a collection of over 30,000 books in France, considers the library as a "window into the life of an individual."
The bibliophile was speaking here at a session titled "The Library at Night" on the second day of the ongoing Zee Jaipur Literature Festival today.
"A library is in some sense our autobiography as it speaks volumes about a person's character," he said describing the "permanent presence of libraries in every chapter of his life."
"My library is like the inside of my mind," Manguel said.
The Argentine-born Canadian anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist and editor said tongue in check revealed he was reluctant to lend books as he felt it encouraged theft.
The essayist and novelist who has written 20 works of criticism, including "The Dictionary of Imaginary Places (with Gianni Guadalupi)" and authored five novels said he judged people by their books.
Talking about fellow writer Paulo Coleho, he said, "If I go into someone's house and see more Plato than Aristotle I see a friend. If I see the works of Paulo Coelho I have great trouble regarding them as a friend."
He also said that history of literature is written through the eyes of writer.
"Every writer wants to be remembered, every writer wants to be classic but he writes what he can but a reader reads what he want to," Manguel said.
The 1948-born author described his deep attachment to books and his relationship with writer Jorge Luis Borges, whom he met at a bookstore where he worked during his adolescence.
Replying to a question posed by moderator Chandrahas Choudhury on e-books and the preference of readers for computers and tablets, he said he belonged to the culture of reading the printed book.
"The physical element, the physical contact, the smell of printed pages has been an intrinsic part of my experience of reading," Manguel said.
The author also stressed on the need to make books available to the masses, and spoke of the power that a reader can derive from the knowledge gained from within the texts