‘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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Anne Fadiman is Clifton Fadiman’s daughter, and she has collected this book of essays about book-love.

At one time these filled the place now taken by science fiction stories of alien abductions. You’re above science fiction too? The book’s subtitle is, “Confessions of a Common Reader”, but the word “common” is apparently intended to mean “wealthy and privileged”, “having a classical literature degree” and “being part of an elite literary circle”.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

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. This book is primarily a book of humor. There is a bonus reading list on books about books in Recommended Readingand I am happy to note that I actually own a copy of one of fadman books listed.

Fadiman often comes across as pretentious annr elitist.

‘Ex Libris’: To the Bookshelf Born

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.

Even the subtext and allusions 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 name of self-preservation and tactf 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.

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.

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 would have loved to know the Fadimans. In Ex LibrisFadiman concentrates less on the texts es and more on the reading process or reading habits: Try writing an original piece as a tribute, maybe?


Anne and her husband, George are both book people and writers.

In she fell out with the management of The American Scholar over her policy of making the magazine a ‘wildlife preserve for the endangered species of the essay’, got fired, became a New England literary cause celebre, and was hired by Yale as writer-in-residence.

See 1 question about Ex Libris…. Alas, while I added this book more than two years ago, I didn’t get around to a finally acquired copy till now, and the three stars would need a great deal of this way or that motion to raise or lower i Yet another case of had I read this book a mere few years ago, four stars would have been a guarantee, five if I was feeling especially forlorn due to few real life acquaintances even liking the concept of a book, let alone sharing my fervent devotion for the written word in bound and paged form.

It’s a book you bibliophiles will want to check out, even as it can be safely skipped by those who aren’t. View all 15 comments. One of my favourite essay was “Never Do That to a Book”. For many years, she was a writer and columnist for Life, and later an Editor-at-Large at Civilization. Many thanks to LisaVegan for this treasure of a gift!!! It describes the ethereal beauty of reading a book at the place where it is set.

However, this did not deter me from enjoying the essays though I kept consulting the dictionary all throughout. We are the sum of the books we read, and if you are a reader, your life and your reading life are always intertwined. The final straw was this phrase the author uses when discussing her father’s library, which apparently, spanned the globe and three millennia, although it was particularly strong in English poetry and fiction of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

It went down soft, pulpy, slushy, oozy – all its delicious embonpoint fadijan down my throat like a large Beatified strawberry. A delightful collection of essays by a bibliophile, for fellow bibliophiles.

Two of my own that might surprise acquaintances and fill up odd shelves of their own are patristic theology of the fourth and fifth centuries and North American Indian captivity narratives. That number would sustain a single conversation.

When he told his children stories, they were bibliomanic.

Aug 11, Ycel rated it it was amazing Shelves: I summon far less effort to read a page than a face, a chapter than mixed body language: The anecdotes are humourous and realistic, you can actually imagine you and your friends having similar conversations!


Preview — Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman. Alas, all libriis 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. Refresh and try again. There is no way to stop, not even if you wanted to. This woman actually seems to believe that all teenagers go fadi,an a sonnet-writing phase. Ever deliver a monologue on French deconstructionist theory simply from an innocuous statement like, “I heard they’re making a new movie out of Tintin?

Her writing first appeared in Britain inwith the publication of Ex Librisa rare and enchanting celebration of bibliophilia; one woman’s salute to words like ‘sesquipedalian’, ‘apopanax’ and ‘goetic’, to the romance of flyleaf dedications, and to the joy of reading aloud.

Talking of Pleasure, this moment I was writing with one hand, and with the other holding to my Mouth a Nectarine – good God how fine.

Undoubtedly, this might be a case of me having had wrong expectations. Not a sonnet between us. The two make for a marked, yet intriguing contrast, since they are both talking about the same subject: At the start I tried to keep tabs of all the new words for me for I can happily report that syzygy and ptarmigan are old friends but somewhere around page 12 the new words just kept piling up that I quit counting. Ever chide es complete stranger for setting a book down open-faced?

Of herself, Fadiman says she was ‘shy, cerebral and fussy, the sort of child better liked by adults than by children’.

If you’re wondering what there is to like about this book, it’s this: Some of these come and go, while others come and stay. In charming tales about vocabulary and grammar and the obsessive need to fix errors of both”Odd Shelves” and the odd titles found on them in her case, a vast collection of books on polar exploration, and it’s a good thing she didn’t offer any titles because I would’ve had to add them allchallenges of combining one’s library with a loved one’s own, the many proper ways of handling a book including using them as building blocksas well as joys qnne reading aloud, reading about food, and reading books in the place they are about the nearest I ever managed was reading George R.