Koji Mukai's Reviews > Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
This is a collection of essays first published in Civilization, the magazine of the Library of Congress, which is where I first read many of them. These essays were written by, for, and about booklovers. My favorites include "Never Do That to a Book" where the author discusses two different ways to love a book - "courtly love" in which the reader tries to keep the book in as pristine a state as possible vs. "carnal love" in which the reader does not care a bit about the appearances of a book, leading to dog-ears, comments in the margin etc. Another favorite is "Marrying Libraries" in which the author and her husband merge their book collections, leading to discussions on how to order different authors on a bookshelf, and how to order books by a single author. Anne Fadimans says that, when she insisted on chronological orders for Shakespeare plays, despite her husband George's objection that nobody knows for sure when Shakespeare wrote his plays, was one of the few times George seriously contemplated divorce.
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