Anne Fadiman is the sort of person who learned about sex from her father’s copy of Fanny Hill, and who once found herself poring over a hen Anne Fadiman was growing up, she writes in her endearing collection of essays, “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader,” her family. Anne Fadiman, author of Ex Libris, talks about her latest ‘confessions’, words like ‘ whiffling’, and perfect literary dinner guests.

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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. Still, it’s nice to read faddiman who understands me so well: For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. This is all part of the book’s content, and the intent is humorous. Like many a Goodreader, no doubt, I have a thing for books about books.

EX LIBRIS by Anne Fadiman | Kirkus Reviews

It’s a book you bibliophiles will want to check out, even as it can be safely skipped by those who aren’t. Many thanks to LisaVegan for this treasure of a gift!!! 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.

However, I find some of her essays too erudite that anyone who xe himself as a well-read person will be quickly put in his proper place when he reads this book. The way this woman talked about books felt like the way wine connosieurs talk about wine.

A delightful collection of essays by a bibliophile, for fellow bibliophiles. Maybe I’m just being mean, but would she have been offered a column in the Library of Congress’s in-house magazine, Civilizationif her last name weren’t Fadiman?

More than anything, though, I take umbrage with the subtitle. And if I resist that one, there will be another day, another duck. So instead I’m doing today what I often do in these situations, to declare myself not a very appropriate person to give an opinion on this title, and to keep my review of it to a minimum in order to cause as little damage to its sales as possible.

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There are funny parts all throughout the book, and the end of the last essay nearly brought tears to my fadoman.

Reading them produces in me the sort of unease I feel when watching Hollywood movies about Hollywood. Fadiman’s writing style is just so perfectly polished, and I love the confiding warmth of her voi I don’t know how many times I’ve read this collection of essays about the love of books, but it has been many.

For all those admirers of my ‘prolix’ prose, that one’s for you. Would she have gotten a summer job interview as a year-old with Wallace Shawn at the New Yorker? View all 6 comments. It’s not all bad. Return to Book Page. Fadiman made me feel comfortable enough to continue reading.


Unfortunately, that thing is unlikely to be the writer herself. Virginia and I would be the centre of attention. This one has excellent narration by Suzanne Toren. I f, in the early New Year, you should happen to see an elfin, almost girlish-looking, middle-aged mother of two buying liquid nitrogen at a medical supplies shop in western Massachusetts, don’t panic.

May 10, Steve rated it really liked it. The discussion on how people annr their paper books is one I often see on GoodReads ie Are you a “courtly” or a “carnal” reader?

Lust for words, and ice-cream too

Throughout, Fadiman’s scope is broad. George eventually caved in, but more for the sake of marital harmony than because of a true conversion. 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 heart-to-heart that is worth the dozens of instances of painfully insipid chatter I suffered through to find it.

Preview — Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman. Disambiguation pages with short description All article disambiguation pages All disambiguation pages. If he wants something, he believes it will present itself, and therefore it usually does.

Jun 18, Ed rated it liked it. I knew this to be an undeniable truth simply from a mutual friend’s appropriately glowing review that gave 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! I thought I was the only one! Ever correct the grammar of an NPR host?

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I very much admire the chronological placement of essays too; with the exception of the final two, which have been juxtaposed to improve the flow of the piece, all are presented in the order in which Fadiman wrote them. Words on a Flyleaf a very sweet essay about the notes we scribble to friends and loved ones when we give a book!

My college term paper came back to me in Nothing New Under the Sun because this essay is heavy with footnotes, the point being that literature is one big recycling bin. Confessions of a Common Readerrecently acquired by my neighborhood library which is why it came to my attention: 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 librks 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.

It classifies readers into “courtly” lovers- who treat the form and the content of the book to be the same and want their books to be preserved in their pristine glory or “carnal” lovers- for whom, the words are holy and the book otherwise is just a vessel to hold all the words in.

It has an essay which emphasises that for so long, we’ve ignored the feminine pronouns, only to be taught librs ‘she’ is always understood when ‘he’ is said.

Also, inheriting books, wow! I confess that when this story was told, everyone around the dinner table concurred that justice had been served. I dug the anecdote about the Danish hotel chambermaid who, finding Fadiman’s year old brother had left an open book face down on the bedside table, left a signed note: