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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They follow me around, get dirty, squished in bags, are taken to the beach.

Fadiman was the editor of the intellectual and cultural quarterly The American Scholar from to Want to Znne saving…. Recommended to Madeleine by: What else should one expect from distilled magazine pieces? The Catalogical Imperitave ah, the joys of reading mail order catalogs! In the Fifties and Sixties her father, Clifton Fadiman, was America’s foremost literary fdiman, essayist, anthologist, the MC of a quiz show called Information Please, and general all-round egg-head.

Goodreads helps you keep track of books anns want to read. Above all, he is guided by an instinct to create for himself, out of whatever odds and ends he can come by, some kind of whole. I don’t know how many times I’ve read this collection of essays about the love of books, but it has been many.

May 14, Diane rated it really liked it Shelves: You grow up in a literate household where nothing is forbidden, but the downside is that if your parents are writers you can’t be an iconoclast. Now I feel we are too busy not to read him. This categorises the chambermaid as a “courtly” lover of books. 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.


The book’s subtitle is, “Confess In the spirit of full disclosure, this book was selected for me as part of a Bossy Book Challenge.

EX LIBRIS by Anne Fadiman | Kirkus Reviews

It is better here. The anecdotes are humourous and realistic, you can actually imagine you and your friends having similar conversations! It is their content not their matter that interests me! Over time this morphed into book collecting and the obsessive selection of the mot juste, but the little girl who recalls ‘hot, humid, firefly-filled summer nights’ is, to adapt Wordsworth, mother to the woman.

I was having a bit of a rereading ec during September largely due to the fact that my TBR shelves were almost exhaustedand decided to pick up Anne Fadiman’s charming little volume of essays, Ex Libris: Just no eex of people just like us. I, for now at least, do not, though I appreciate the sentiment.

Lust for words, and ice-cream too

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 sung in pitch-perfect harmony. She describes growing up a sesquipedalian, the joys and otherwise of trying to merge her library with that of her husband, the quirks of proof reading, and much more, as she shares her love of all things literary.

I have also begun buying books with regularity upon leaving the funeral home or cemetery. I had the urge to lend them to as many friends as possible in order to make up for all the caresses they had missed during their first century. While it isn’t unusual for people at my work to pass prematurely, there has been a statistical glut in my family where people live beyond the norm and have now passed in quick succession.


It’s like going into the family business. If there is a dominant figure in her life it is the dedicatee of At Large and At Small, her eccentric brother Kim, whom she calls ‘my ideal reader’. 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 to strike me as pleasing?


Topics Books The Observer.

I knew this to be an undeniable truth simply from a libdis 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!

Who but an Englishman, Lieutenant William Edward Parry, would 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 librus never seen an olive branch but had never seen a tree?

Anne Fadiman writes with self-depreciating joy about the pleasures and pains ane the book obsessed, and reading her confessions helped reawaken and soothe my guilt about my own book-related afflictions. 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.

‘Ex Libris’: To the Bookshelf Born

Please note that she fact reads the lists, mail-order catalogs and fadoman. And I do accept that my capacity to learn new words has reduced drastically.

I very much admire the chronological placement of libeis 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.

I am carnal, meaning that I write in my books and don’t hesitate one second to use then for other purposes. I summon far less effort to read a page than a face, a chapter than mixed body language: