Paul Perry's Reviews > Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader

Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
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's review
Oct 27, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, books-about-books, essays, female-author
Recommended for: anyone who loves books
Read from October 27 to 29, 2010

This wonderful slim volume collects Anne Fadiman's essays on aspects of being a bibliophile, indeed a bibliomaniac. I am sure that anyone who loves books will, like me, be constantly smiling or chuckling in recognition at the odd, obsessive relationship we have with the printed word. The theme that connects all the essays is how books connect people - the writers with the readers, but also how we relate to friends, family and lovers through our books, and how the smears, inscriptions and marginalia of second-hand books joins us to a chain of past readers.

I'm not always a fan of the New Yorker style of writer - I often find them to be pretentious ivory-towered aesthetes and snobs, such as in Nora Ephrons recent satire of the the Stieg Larsson books - but this was witty, funny, charming and urbane. Fadiman decries, in the Recommended Reading chapter that "Book About Books" sections are to be found only in secondhand bookstores rather than new bookshops, but this little collection is a lovely addition to that small, select enclave.

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10/28/2010 page 24
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