Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (Paperback)

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(Essays, Letters & Commen)

Staff Reviews


Ex Libris is a book for people who love books. Do you have a personalized book organizational system more detailed than the Dewey decimal? This book is for you. Do you feel gleeful victory when you find small errors in published texts? This book is for you. Do you always believe that the book is better than the movie? This book is for you. Would you rather stay home with a book than almost any activity in the world? This book is for you.

— Allison

Description


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.

About the Author


Anne Fadiman is the author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, an L.A. Times Book Prize, and a Salon Book Award. She is also the author of the essay collection At Large and At Small and the editor of Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love. Her essays and articles have appeared in Harper's, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, among other publications. She is the Francis Writer-in-Residence at Yale.

Praise For…


"A smart little book that one can happily welcome into the family and allow to start growing old." --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

"A book for bookworms . . . 18 stylish, dryly humorous essays"--Entertainment Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374527228
ISBN-10: 0374527229
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publication Date: November 25th, 2000
Pages: 162
Language: English