Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Anne Fadiman (1998), Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Ex Libris recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. Anne Fadiman, like many passionate readers, regards books that she loves as chapters in her life story. I can remember certain books that I read at certain periods of my life. Star Trek novels saved my sanity as I was training in Edinburgh for my postgraduate degree, far away from home and family.

Writing with remarkable grace, she (Fadiman) revives the tradition of well crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathological literary family. As someone who plays at blocks with her father’s twenty-two volume set of Trollope (“My Ancestral Castle”) and who considers herself truly married only when she and her husband had merged collections (“Marrying Libraries”), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of flyleaf inscriptions, the perverse pleasure of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfaction of reading aloud.

A jolly good read for bibliophiles and bibliomaniacs and those in between.


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Blogger Paul Long said...

How many books do you read a week!?! I am breathless just trying to catch up with uoir postings :-)

5:07 AM  
Blogger pearlie said...

"Marrying libraries" ... haha ... I like that. But we did not really have "libraries" to marry back then!

1:17 PM  
Blogger pearlie said...

Paul, I know what you mean! I have just about to save a page of a blog into my phone to read when I am on the run ;) (Kar Yong's one if you have been there - his last 2-3 posts are really looooong)

1:20 PM  
Blogger Kar Yong said...


What has blogs got to do with books? Wonder how I got drag into this....Haha!

My mother is having her physio treatment this week. While waiting for her to undergo the treatment, I read one book this week already (every visit takes 1 hour...). If the clinic is wifi, I'd blog more loooooonnng posts.... :-0

8:38 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi paul,

I averages about 3-4 books a week. I wish I have more time to read.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi pearlie,

I like the idea of 'marrying libraries.' Fadiman gave an interesting account of how she and her husband marries their libraries. He husband is also a devoted bibilomanaic.

12:40 PM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hi kar yong,

that's a good way of redeeming waiting time :)

12:41 PM  
Blogger pearlie said...

wow ... 3 to 4 books a week is amazing. I used to do just one a month and that itself is a feat for me. This year alone, I only did 2, one in Jan and another in August. How do you do it??

12:48 AM  
Blogger pearlie said...

Kar Yong,
we are blogging ma ... somehow will come back to the blogs :)
I haven't had the energy to read your previous loooooong ones yet ... hard to keep up!

12:50 AM  
Blogger Paul Long said...

I confess that when I am waiting at the hospital I generally do not read books (I do try)... I end up reading comic books (I put myself in temptations way by putting a couple in my bag :-) - I love the libraries here!) and if time still drags on (and I don't get to chat with someone) I read the "gossip" magazines that feature news on celebrities :-)

4:13 AM  

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