Ex Libris

Ex Libris

Confessions of A Common Reader

Book - 1998
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Anne Fadiman is--by her own admission--the sort of person who learned about sex from her father's copy of Fanny Hill, whose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over her roommate's 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in the apartment that she had not read at least twice.
This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family. As someone who played at blocks with her father's 22-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marrying Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud. There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony--Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, c1998
Characteristics: xi, 162 p. ; 20 cm
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0374148600 (alk. paper)
Call Number: 814.54 FADIMAN


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May 02, 2017

A thoroughly delightful set of eighteen essays about books: Our relationships with them, their influence upon our lives, the part they play in our relationships with our loved ones. The sensual pleasure of searching them out, acquiring them, carrying them home for adoption and the ways in which they occupy our homes our passions and the hours and days of our lives.

Jul 28, 2015

just wonderful reading on reading--how meta!

Mar 02, 2014

These essays are not only about some of my very favorite topics (books! reading!), but they are well written, amusing, interesting, and enlightening. Fadiman writes charmingly about blended bookshelves, the ways that we love books (I'm definitely a courtly lover, and all of those people who write in the margins are barbarians, in my opinion), sesquipedalianism, and other delightful topics. I feel like I've sat down with a friend and she's told me all sorts of stories about her reading life. And perhaps that's the best way that I can describe how I feel about this book: in writing it, Fadiman has made me her friend.

Aug 10, 2011

I picked this up on a whim, and was glad I did! The essays are well written and speak directly to the heart of any book lover (carnal or courtly!) and, I learned of some new books that might be interesting to read as well.

Mar 21, 2011

A great book of essays about loving books - reading them and keeping them. Is it okay to bend pages and write in margins? How should married couples organize their collections? New books in bright bookstores or old volumes in dusty bookshops? I enjoyed nearly all of these essays (except the overly-footnoted one, which was supposed to be witty but just gave me vertigo).

Jan 28, 2011

A book about loving books. Very well written and a delight to read.

Oct 22, 2009

A great set of essays for voracious readers everywhere, who will likely find something of themselves in at least one of the selections, if not more.

Jul 13, 2009

Anne Fadiman is a column writer, a journal editor, and an award-winning author. She?s also a life-long reader, and that means more than all her other scholarly accomplishments in this collection of her eighteen essays that pay tribute to the love of books and reading. Fadiman writes about how you?re not really married to someone until you combine book collections. She muses on how reading the same book at different points in your life can change what the book means to you. She goes into raptures over secondhand bookstores and lovingly critiques the best (and worst) inscriptions people write when they?re giving books to others. She chronicles the difficulties of being both a lover of sesquipedalians (long words) and an obsessive-compulsive proofreader. Fadiman is intelligent and passionate about books and her essays are written with a graceful elegance of style that will charm every kind of reader under the sun. In Fadiman?s hands, reading becomes an art that is to be honed and nurtured over a lifetime. Fadiman?s life is healthier, richer, funnier, and more rewarding because of her love of books, and that about sums it up for all us bookworms out there.


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