Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Featured Non-Fiction: The City of Words by Alberto Manguel

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Featured Non-Fiction: The City of Words by Alberto Manguel

A book launch of the 2007 CBC Massey Lectures, The City of Words by Alberto Manguel, will be held at Massey College in the Common Room on Wednesday, October 10 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The City of Words
by Alberto Manguel
House of Anansi Press, 2007
240 pages
In the new CBC Massey Lectures -- the most prestigious and eagerly anticipated nonfiction series of the year -- renowned thinker and author Alberto Manguel takes a fresh look at the rise of violent intolerance in our societies, taking us back into our literary tradition to find insight about one of the most contentious issues of our time.

The end of ethnic nationalism appears to be a good idea. Building societies that promote civic nationalism, with sets of values all citizens can agree on, also appears to be a sound idea. But something is going wrong: race riots in France, political murder in the Netherlands, bombings in Britain -- all appear to be symptoms of a multicultural experiment gone awry. Politicians and sociologists are puzzled; why is it so difficult for us to live together when the alternatives are so demonstrably horrifying? Can it be that blood is still more important than peaceful coexistence?

In the 2007 Massey Lectures, Alberto Manguel confronts some of the problems we face in creating new societies and suggests a fresh approach: We should look at what novelists have to say. Maybe our books and stories hold secret keys to the human heart, keys that social planners can't find. With his trademark wit and erudition, Manguel suggests that perhaps we should look on the library shelf marked "fiction" for the book entitled How to Build a Better Society.

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