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Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

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Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader Cover

ISBN13: 9780374527228
ISBN10: 0374527229
Condition: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

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.

Review:

"A bibliophile, nay a bibliomaniac, of unbounded bookishness, the author is no 'common reader.' Nor is she your run-of-the-mill essayist. Her literary meanderings in the tradition of Montaigne and Lamb are exquisitely wrought, in a word, precious. Some will find her musings on proofreading and literary gluttony too refined, if not self-important; others will admire greatly the wit and precision of her prose. Although she will probably not command a wide audience, Fadiman will find her way into the hearts of many book lovers." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)

Review:

"Charles Lamb lives! — or at least is resurrected in the form of Anne Fadiman's enchanting essays on letters and life (and their mutual illuminations). In literary reflections that play and delight, charm and enlighten, the love of books takes on unexpected configurations. Where else will you learn of inscriptions in imaginary languages, or a reading lust so imperative that 'in a pinch I'll settle for a set of Water Pik instructions'? Where else will Livy and Macaulay be found cheek and jowl with Eloise? Who else can devote eight pages of perfectionist prose to a peroration on the perils of proofreading? Though they are as buoyant as balloons, Anne Fadiman's engaging essays carry the golden weight of art." Cynthia Ozick

Review:

"The pleasure of reading have been the special province of essayists from Montaigne onwards. Rarely have the pleasures of books and life been so happily evoked as this." Economist Review

Review:

"...[T]he 18 esays...deal usefully with little problems people who care for books would be unlikely to think about systematically, let alone discuss with other readers and writers....[this is] a smart little book that one can happily welcome into the family and allow to start growing old." The New York Times

Review:

"Each essay is a model of clarity and lightly worn erudition, and speaks volumes about the author's appreciation for people as well as books." The New Yorker

Synopsis:

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.

Synopsis:

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.
Anne Fadiman is the editor of The American Scholar. Recipient of a National Book Critics Circle Award for her first book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, she has written for the The New Yorker, Civilization, Harper's, Life, and The New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Massachusetts.
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 nineteen pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over a 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in her apartment that she had not read at least twice.

Ex Libris recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many 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 fathers twenty-two-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who considered herself truly married only when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marry Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of flyleaf inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proofreading, the allure of long words, and the satisfaction of reading aloud. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.

"A terrifically entertaining collection of personal essays about books . . . Heartening, tender, wise, and hilarious."—Patsy Baudoin, The Boston Book Review

"In the literary Eden that forms Anne Fadiman's life, the air remains pure allusion, the marginalia flows, and the only snake in the grass is a typo."—Renee Tursi, The New York Times Book Review

"Each essay is a model of clarity and lightly worn erudition, and speaks volumes about the authors appreciation for people as well as books."—The New Yorker

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

"A lovely collection of essays on a family's love affair with books and words, a passion passed from her parents to her children."—Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

About the Author

Anne Fadiman is the editor of The American Scholar. Recipient of a National Magazine Award for Reporting, she has writetn for Civilization, Harper's, Life, and The New York Times, among other publications.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Michael Fried, January 19, 2012 (view all comments by Michael Fried)
Anyone who is a reader of books about books and readers should read this one!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Michael Fried, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Michael Fried)
A wonderful book for people who love books!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Shannon Bodenstein, September 24, 2011 (view all comments by Shannon Bodenstein)
This collection of essays will be a total delight to anyone who loves books. Fadiman rights in a style that is both erudite and self-deprecating. Her words touch on everything from the love of a fountain pen to Antarctic expeditions. A great read!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780374527228
Author:
Fadiman, Anne
Publisher:
Farrar Straus Giroux
Location:
New York
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Books & Reading
Subject:
Books and reading
Subject:
Fadiman, Anne
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st pbk. ed.
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
105-37
Publication Date:
20001131
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
7.52 x 4.98 x 0.46 in

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Reference » Books on Books
Reference » Reading

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader Used Trade Paper
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$5.95 In Stock
Product details 176 pages Farrar Straus Giroux - English 9780374527228 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Charles Lamb lives! — or at least is resurrected in the form of Anne Fadiman's enchanting essays on letters and life (and their mutual illuminations). In literary reflections that play and delight, charm and enlighten, the love of books takes on unexpected configurations. Where else will you learn of inscriptions in imaginary languages, or a reading lust so imperative that 'in a pinch I'll settle for a set of Water Pik instructions'? Where else will Livy and Macaulay be found cheek and jowl with Eloise? Who else can devote eight pages of perfectionist prose to a peroration on the perils of proofreading? Though they are as buoyant as balloons, Anne Fadiman's engaging essays carry the golden weight of art."
"Review" by , "The pleasure of reading have been the special province of essayists from Montaigne onwards. Rarely have the pleasures of books and life been so happily evoked as this."
"Review" by , "...[T]he 18 esays...deal usefully with little problems people who care for books would be unlikely to think about systematically, let alone discuss with other readers and writers....[this is] a smart little book that one can happily welcome into the family and allow to start growing old."
"Review" by , "Each essay is a model of clarity and lightly worn erudition, and speaks volumes about the author's appreciation for people as well as books."
"Synopsis" by ,
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.

"Synopsis" by ,
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.
Anne Fadiman is the editor of The American Scholar. Recipient of a National Book Critics Circle Award for her first book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, she has written for the The New Yorker, Civilization, Harper's, Life, and The New York Times, among other publications. She lives in Massachusetts.
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 nineteen pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over a 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in her apartment that she had not read at least twice.

Ex Libris recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many 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 fathers twenty-two-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who considered herself truly married only when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marry Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of flyleaf inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proofreading, the allure of long words, and the satisfaction of reading aloud. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.

"A terrifically entertaining collection of personal essays about books . . . Heartening, tender, wise, and hilarious."—Patsy Baudoin, The Boston Book Review

"In the literary Eden that forms Anne Fadiman's life, the air remains pure allusion, the marginalia flows, and the only snake in the grass is a typo."—Renee Tursi, The New York Times Book Review

"Each essay is a model of clarity and lightly worn erudition, and speaks volumes about the authors appreciation for people as well as books."—The New Yorker

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

"A lovely collection of essays on a family's love affair with books and words, a passion passed from her parents to her children."—Bob Minzesheimer, USA Today

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