There are some dark and intimate passages in The Glass Bead Game. Unsurprisingly, one of the most intense (bordering on homosocial desire) takes place within a library. The silence of that place carries the weight of attraction. Silence is a characteristic of mind: memory envisaged as a library. In his evocative work, The Library at Night, Manguel captures the magic of silence:
Like Machiavelli, I often sit among my books at night. While I prefer to write in the morning, at night I enjoy reading in thick silence, when triangles of light from the reading lamps split my library shelves in two. Above, the high rows of books vanish into darkness; below sits the privileged section of the illuminated titles. (p.193).
The library is a silent place where books are stars, and the reader is an astrologer seeking patterns in darkness. Manguel remembers a protective silence.