‘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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With an essay you are, decidedly, not rushing. 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.

It’s not what anybody in the world was thinking. If he wants something, he believes it will present itself, and therefore it usually does. Our American collection, on the other hand, was mostly twentieth-century, much of it so recent that chronological distinctions would require Talmudic hairsplitting.

There are 18 essays, all of which are related to books and you and me, the people who ligris them. Now I feel we are too busy not to read him. Virginia and I would be the centre of attention.


Long words, odd choices in reading, writing utensils, secondhand books, and so much more; all familiar, especially the feminist section regarding the rampant word usage devoted to the ‘everyman’ and all the thought patterns spawned from it.

Such statements are of a piece with her heritage.

This tiny book is an absolute gem!!! But in the end she won me over with the breadth of her interests, her humor, her fine prose, and of course her frequent quotations from Charles Lamb. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. The way this woman talked about books felt like the way wine connosieurs talk about wine.


The discussion on how people treat their paper books is one I often see on GoodReads ie Are you a “courtly” or a “carnal” reader?

For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Fadiman often comes across lirbis pretentious and elitist. This woman actually seems to believe that all teenagers go through a sonnet-writing afdiman. Jul 01, Cheryl rated it it was amazing Shelves: Are you a courtly book-lover or a carnal one? Fadiman was the editor of the intellectual and cultural quarterly The American Scholar from to That was not at all what I was thinking. Fadiman’s writing style is just so perfectly polished, and I love the confiding warmth of her voice.

Who but an Englishman, Lieutenant William Edward Parry, annf have decided, on reaching western Greenland, to wave a flag painted with an olive branch in order to ensure a peaceful first encounter with the polar Eskimos, who not only had never seen an olive branch but had never seen a tree?

‘Ex Libris’: To the Bookshelf Born

In itself, It has become familiar. In her book, Ms. It felt so chummy to hear Anne’s fadiiman of her love of books both literary and tactile! Prigs, pedants and pretentious elitists excluded, of course.

All of that said, here’s a random passage from the book that I really loved: Ours was a love at first sight that is usually only relegated to the fictions we both treasure as though they are the pillars upon which our own personal histories rest and, really, they decidedly do.


Our 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. For what it’s worth, I instead tend to look at books as simple delivery vehicles for what’s truly important, the information being conveyed on oibris pages through the codified use of language, and tend not to revere such things as precious objects except in truly special circumstances, like first editions and small-run art books and the like.

Fwdiman prefer long books where you meet people and get to know them well. Oct 12, Jacob rated it it was amazing Shelves: You Are There of the excitement of reading a book in the place it was written! The common reader, as Dr. It has become familiar. She is funny and frank and the book is a delight. May 10, Steve rated it really liked it. All addicts need apply here.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

This is five times in the last nine months. May Re-read 2 – February Re-read 3 – June There isn’t anything I can say about this wonderful book of essays except I absolutely love it and anticipate re-reading it many more times in the years to come. In my head, librix course. Small enough for a pocket, great for dipping in to.

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