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Ex Libris

Confessions of a Common Reader

Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
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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.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux; April 2011
162 pages; ISBN 9781429929424
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Title: Ex Libris
Author: Anne Fadiman
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Shelf space - The Christian Century
Tue, 07 Oct 2014 17:09:17 -0700
Shelf spaceThe Christian CenturyI'd like to claim that idea as my own, but it was inspired by Anne Fadiman's essay ...
Shelf Help - The Hindu
Sat, 07 Nov 2015 14:13:30 -0800
Shelf HelpThe HinduThere is a particular allure to books about reading. And it is drawn from more than the meditative quality ...
The familiar essay: a delight in the hands of Anne Fadiman - Christian Science Monitor
Mon, 02 Jul 2007 14:26:44 -0700
The familiar essay: a delight in the hands of Anne FadimanChristian Science MonitorWould someone please hire Anne Fadiman to ...
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