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

Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
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Feb 29, 2008

it was amazing
Read in March, 2008

In these brief essays, Anne Fadiman gives voice to so many delights that come with loving books. From the happy sense of frenzy that comes with entering a hole-in-the-wall used bookstore to the simple pleasure of reading aloud or being read to, she echoes sentiments I've felt all my life but does it much more eloquently than I ever could. With stories of proofreading restaurant menus with her family and organizing her shelves meticulously by category, it would be easy for these essays to come across as stuffy; Fadiman's dry, self-deprecating humor prevents that from happening. She knows she's ridiculous at times, but that's what's so fun about it--it's also what makes the book so fun to read. Her memories somehow validate the quirky obsessions of all bibliophiles, and it's nice to know we're not alone. My favorite essay describes what she calls "you are there" reading: reading a book in the exact setting it describes. Some of my most cherished memories from trips center around this activity: reading Abbey in Arches NP, Maclean and Doig in Montana, Yeats in Sligo, and so on. Like so many other things in "Ex Libris", I've always known I enjoyed this, but reading Fadiman's words helped me remember why.
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