Ex Libris

Confessions of a Common Reader

Anne Fadiman

Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks

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Anne Fadiman is--by her own admission--the sort of person who learned about sex from her father's copy of Fanny Hill, whose husband buys her 19 pounds of dusty books for her birthday, and who once found herself poring over her roommate's 1974 Toyota Corolla manual because it was the only written material in the apartment that she had not read at least twice.

This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family. As someone who played at blocks with her father's 22-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. There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony--Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.

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Reviews

Praise for Ex Libris

"A smart little book that one can happily welcome into the family and allow to start growing old." --Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

"A book for bookworms . . . 18 stylish, dryly humorous essays"--Entertainment Weekly

In the Press

Revisiting the Backlist: Marrying Libraries | Book Keeping
A few months ago, my husband and I decided to mix our books together. We had known each other for ten years, lived together for six, been married for five. Our mismatched coffee mugs cohabited amiably; we wore each other’s T-shirts and, in a pinch, socks; and our record collection had long ago miscegenated without an incident.... But our libraries had remained separate.
- FSG's Book Keeping


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About the Author

Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman is the author of The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, winner of a National Book Critics Circle Award, an L.A. Times Book Prize, and a Salon Book Award. She is also the author of the essay collection At Large and At Small and the editor of Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love. Her essays and articles have appeared in Harper’s, The New Yorker, and The New York Times, among other publications. She is the Francis Writer-in-Residence at Yale.

Anne Fadiman

Connie Miller
Anne Fadiman

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Available Formats and Book Details

Ex Libris
Confessions of a Common Reader
Anne Fadiman

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Paperbacks
November 2000
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780374527228
ISBN10: 0374527229
5 x 7 1/2 inches, 176 pages
$13.00
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Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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