The Sunday Magazine

Alberto Manguel's unquenchable Curiosity

Alberto Manguel is renowned as a prolific writer and a dedicated champion of serious reading. His latest passion is an examination of the perils and promise of curiosity.
Argentinian writer Alberto Manguel in his library; he says his works were his earliest friends. (ALAIN JOCARD/AFP/Getty Images)

One of the first questions a child asks is "why?" According to the writer Alberto Manguel, it is the most important question they will ever ask. It opens numberless possibilities to children, as it does to all of us. And the act of asking questions, he says, is far more important than getting answers.

The curious mind is one which is always asking "Why this and why that?" and revels in where this takes it. Manguel's curious mind was cultivated early. He began reading from a very young age and his friends were found in the pages of books  in part because his family led a somewhat peripatetic life. 

Alberto Manguel is renowned as a prolific writer and reader; indeed, he's a dedicated champion of serious reading. His own library contains more than 35,000 books, and he's just been appointed chief librarian of the National Library of Argentina.

His latest passion is an examination of the perils and promise of curiosity. In fact, his latest book is called Curiosity. Each chapter poses an essential human question. "Why Do Things Happen?" "What Are We Doing Here?"  "Why Are We Different?" 


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