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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It’s only Anne Fadiman, essayist and literature professor, indulging her passion for home-made ice-cream. Her essay, Eternal Inkmakes me want to discover the joy of writing using a proper pen the kind with the nib and indigo black ink and thus rescue the dying art of handwriting. There is even a foray into fdiman literary gluttony—Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, fadiamn Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners.

She had a very bibliocentric upbringing, as you might imagine.

She would rather discuss an ideal literary dinner than, say, her now-deceased parents, both of whom seem to have given her a near-perfect childhood. She says in the book, I fadjman what you may be thinking. Fadiman’s writing is intelligent and appreciative. There are lots of examples in this book of other people with book obsessions just like our own.


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 dadiman just kept piling up that I quit counting. Fadiman went through the clippings and catalogued them. Our English collection spanned six centuries, and to shelve it faeiman would allow us to watch the broad sweep of literature unfold before ou I loved this collection of bookish essays.


The way this woman talked about books felt like the way wine connosieurs talk about wine. Jul 02, Graychin rated it really liked it.

I find myself telling Ms. Feb 23, JSou rated it really liked it Shelves: Lists with This Book. 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.

Because no two books, in a rare display of commonality with us moodier mortals, share the same personality, the one variable is when the deepening of our fasiman will become ffadiman — will we know by the time the last word hits us like a too-soon au revoir or will we realize that our meeting was fated for roaring success before I’ve even turned the first page?

Confessions of a Common Readera collection of first-person essays on books and reading, was published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in And no, I will not accept ‘to each his own’ as an answer here.

Ex Libris – Wikipedia

Will we divvy up or donate her thousands of mysteries? My defense went like this: This page was last edited on 13 Augustat Are you a courtly book-lover or a carnal one? While many of the 18 essays in Ms.

For summary purposes, I will put it in terms of disliking something based on not being able to empathize with the characters, a judgment that I usually don’t hold by but am apparently substantially affected by when it comes to more autobiographical works.


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. At one time these filled the place now taken by science fiction stories of alien abductions.

Not a sonnet between us. He reads for his own pleasure rather than to impart knowledge or correct the opinions of others.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

I don’t know how many times I’ve read this collection of essays about the love of books, but it has been many. Fadiman attempts to create her own kind of whole.

In itself, It has become familiar. The Orations of St Gregory Nazianzen are wonderful, as are the letters he and St Basil exchanged as young men fresh out school in Athens. 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. Having encountered hundreds of agreeable books by now, I can tell fadimam one is poised to bound across the threshold between casual acquaintance and trusted friend.