‘Ex Libris’ By Anne Fadiman Beautifully Defines The Difference Between Readers Who “Abuse” Their Books & Those Who Don’t. ByKerri. hen Anne Fadiman was growing up, she writes in her endearing collection of essays, “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader,” her family. Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader. Anne Fadiman, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $18 (p) ISBN
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Preview — Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman. Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. Anne Cadiman is—by her own admission—the sort of person who learned about sex from her father’s copy of Fanny Hillwhose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her fadimam, and who once found herself poring over her roommate’s Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in the apartment libriss she had not read at least twice.
This witty collec Anne Fadiman is—by her own admission—the sort of person who learned about sex from her father’s copy of Fanny Hillwhose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over her roommate’s 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, librks 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 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 nane into pure literary gluttony—Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadi,an knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners.
Perfectly balanced between humor and fadimaan, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists. Paperbackpages. Published November 25th by Farrar Straus Giroux first published To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Ex Librisplease sign up. See 1 question about Ex Libris…. Lists with This Book.
Jul 30, Elyse Walters rated it it was amazing. This tiny book is an absolute gem!!! These I8 essays are a tribute to books- bookworms – fellow bibliophiles!
The book bug stayed in the family. Anne and her husband, George are both book people and writers. They had lived togeth This tiny book is an absolute gem!!! They had lived together for six years, been married for five.
They mis-matched coffee mugs, socks, record collections, years ago without any incident- but their libraries remained separate.
EX LIBRIS by Anne Fadiman | Kirkus Reviews
Ultimately libraries are about bringing people together. I loved these essays -mostly about books, and a little about family and food. Many thanks to LisaVegan for this treasure of a gift!!! View all 20 comments. May 10, Steve rated it really liked it. Like many a Goodreader, no doubt, I have a thing for books about books.
Fadiman is the da Like many a Goodreader, no doubt, I have a thing for books about books. She had a very bibliocentric upbringing, as you might imagine. You might say she was to the omnibus manor born. Her essays cover a variety of topics that are bound to interest booklovers. In other essays we learn her thoughts on: Fadiman writes very well, too —- never a word wrong, never a cacophonous beat.
Oh wait, an ex libris of ex libris books is too much like the twaddle in my intro. View all 55 comments. Feb 23, JSou rated it really liked it Shelves: Just a couple weeks ago, a great review of this book popped up on my update feed, Ah, the magic of Goodreads so when I spotted it at a booksale I went to last week for a dollar, I grabbed it quick.
If you haven’t read Jon’s review yet, check it out: Thanks to a bout of insomnia last night, I finished this and loved it. I feel like shoving this book onto some family and friends who think I’m much too obsessed with all things book. All of these essays show Just a couple weeks ago, a great review of this book popped up on my update feed, Ah, the magic of Goodreads so when I spotted it at a booksale I went to last week for a dollar, I grabbed it quick.
All of these essays show why bibliophiles love their book collection so passionately; our books become a part of who we are. There are funny parts all throughout the book, and the end of the last essay nearly brought tears to my eyes. I’ve always loved books, and admit that since joining Goodreads my obsession has increased a thousand fold. My GR addiction has reached the point where if this site was suddenly not available, I don’t know what I would do.
Not having a whole lot of friends in “real-life” who are book-lovers like myself, makes this website and books like this almost a necessity. They give you the sense that it’s okay to constantly be re-organizing your bookshelf, kind of panicking inside when someone asks to borrow a book, or even spotting annoying grammar and spelling mistakes everywhere you go.
This was a very entertaining read and a must-have for the crazily obsessed bookworm.
View all 3 comments. May 10, Madeleine rated it really liked fadjman Recommends it for: Anyone who considers him- or herself a bibliophile. Recommended to Madeleine by: If you’ll excuse what I know has to sound like a weak attempt at an obvious pun, I find that books are easier to read than people.
I summon far less effort to read a page than a face, a chapter than mixed body language: Even the subtext and anje and metaphors are all naught but new takes on old tricks, and the most elusive hidden messages are often buried no deeper than a careful reexamination of text laid bare with a willingness most people eschew in the libriss of self-preservation and tactf If you’ll excuse what I know has to sound like a weak attempt fadimna an obvious pun, I find that books are easier to read than people.
Even the subtext and allusions and metaphors are all naught but new aanne on old tricks, and the most ann hidden messages are often buried no deeper than a careful reexamination of text laid bare with a willingness most people eschew in the name of self-preservation and tactful modesty.
Besides, I’m far far, far, faaaar more apt to dislike a person than a book, so why not be better acquainted with the entity that’s more likely anhe strike me as pleasing? Having encountered hundreds of agreeable books by now, I can tell when one is poised to bound across the threshold between casual acquaintance and trusted friend.
Because no two books, in a rare display of commonality with us moodier mortals, share the same personality, the one variable is when the deepening of fadimam relationship will become apparent — will we know by the time the last word hits us like a znne au revoir or will we realize that our meeting was fated for roaring success before I’ve even turned the first page? Confessions of a Common Reader and I were destined for each other. I knew this to be an undeniable truth simply from a mutual friend’s appropriately glowing review that faviman rise to the heartening pang reserved for the flash of recognition in spotting a kindred spirit from a distance that may be easily conquered but lengthened intolerably by the inconvenient fact that we’d not been properly introduced yet thanks for playing matchmaker, Steve!
Like a friend insisting that I ought to meet this person they just know with whom I’ll enjoy an easy rapport, I sought the aforementioned book’s companionship immediately, knowing it would be one of those rare times reality and fantasy librus in anbe harmony. We knew that we were about the enjoy the rare bliss of a fast friendship and flowing conversation buoyed by quiet but doggedly personality-defining quirks.
Forgoing the polite formalities of aimless small talk that I’ve never had any use for, we quickly discovered our kinship by way of unabashed conversation girded with the intimate admissions that are usually divulged to the friends whose loyalty was built on years of shared experiences: Ours was a love at first sight that is usually only fafiman to the fictions we wx treasure as libis they are the pillars upon which our own personal histories rest and, really, they decidedly do.
We found instantaneous common ground by confiding early on that we both regarded it as a monumental moment, indeed — with an exx cast far more optimistically toward the future than a mere marriage proposal, infinitely more demonstrative of a trust we’d only felt for one person that we proclaimed it before a roomful of witnesses, embracing a humbling but welcome vulnerability light years beyond that first appearance of the two-backed beast — when we allowed the person we’ve vowed to love and support until both of our bodies have expired to combine their personal libraries with our own lovingly tended but fiercely guarded xnne trove of tomes, that to allow such a commingling of the closest we’ll ever come to an outward manifestation of our personalities’ truest forms with another’s is the very definition of the hard-won but popularly cliched and carelessly bandied-about designation of “soulmate.
I thought I was the only one! Alas, all good things must come to an end and, as we blinked with disbelief into the light of a new day, we realized that our electrifying and animated first meeting was rushing toward its inevitable denouement. And I realized that the jealousies I’d brushed aside in the eager pursuit of getting to know libriz marvelous new ally with whom I shared multitudinous proclivities and compulsions were now a spreading stain that unfairly marred our enchanted first encounter, which is a personal failing that should say terrible things about me and should not, at all, be held against this exuberant and eloquent little book but is why I docked a star off its rating — I assume, with the heavy-handed clarity of hindsight, that Confessions of a Common Reader is dressed in green to warn me how deeply I’d envy anyone whose childhood was a warmly nurturing word nerd’s dream and a booklover’s haven.
I know we’ll meet again and, that when we do, my pettiness will have long ago been overshadowed by fond memories of a soul-baring libeis that is worth the dozens of instances of painfully insipid chatter I suffered through to find it. View all 25 comments. May 14, Diane rated it really liked it Shelves: I loved this collection of bookish essays. One of my favorite pieces was “Marrying Libraries,” which was when Anne and her husband, George, decided to combine their book collections: My defense went like this: Our English collection spanned six centuries, and to shelve it chronologically would allow us to watch the broad sweep of literature unfold before ou I loved this collection of bookish essays.
Radiman English collection spanned six centuries, and to shelve it chronologically would allow us to watch the broad sweep of literature unfold before our very eyes. The Victorians belonged together; separating them would be like breaking up a family. Besides, Susan Sontag arranged her books chronologically.
Our American collection, on the other hand, was mostly twentieth-century, libbris of it so recent that chronological distinctions would require Talmudic hairsplitting.
George eventually caved in, but more for the sake of marital harmony than because of a true conversion.
Lust for words, and ice-cream too
A particularly bad moment fadimsn while he was in the process of transferring my Shakespeare collection from one bookcase to another and I called out, ‘Be sure to keep the plays in chronological order! I’d like to see that reflected on our shelves.
View all 9 comments. Recommended to Ruby by: In the ec of full disclosure, this book was selected for me as part of a Bossy Book Challenge. A book of essays about reading is certainly something I would never have chosen for myself, but I did try to keep an open mind.
I understand why people like this book. The writer obviously truly loves books to the point of obsession, and anyone with a love of books will find something to relate to here.