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Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader


Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
Anne Fadiman
162 pages

Reflections: This "book about books" is a collection of 18 essays which will delight any avid reader. Anne Fadiman grew up in a book-loving family, and draws on both early and adult experiences to explore many aspects of the written word. Each person who reads this book will probably have their favorite essays. From my perspective, the gems in this little book were:

  • Never do that to a Book, which explores the "proper" treatment of books, and highlighted one of my own personal quirks, the way in which I place a bookmark in order to know whether to resume reading on the right or left page.
  • The His'er Problem, which discusses the importance of inclusive language in writing, and how writers in earlier eras "didn't really see women, and their language reflected and reinforced that blind spot."
  • Insert a Carrot, celebrating the "compulsive proofreaders" among us. Yes, I'm one of them. My husband and I are prone to spotting grammatical errors on road signs. And I have found a kindred spirit in my friend and colleague Claudia, with whom I exchange raised eyebrows across the room when someone at work mixes up "averse" and "adverse".
  • Secondhand Prose, celebrating the joys of used books. I hardly ever buy new anymore, having discovered both Paperbackswap.com and a wonderful small bookshop in a nearby college town (a great source for classics, cast off at the end of term).
This is a quick and fun read, and highly recommended.  ( )

50 Book Challenge Completed!

Zokutou word meter
50 / 50
(100.0%)

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
deirdre_nyc
Sep. 21st, 2007 01:24 am (UTC)
Made it to 50 already? I'm so jealous. Great work.
laura0218
Sep. 21st, 2007 01:30 am (UTC)
Thanks! I really thought 50 was an aggressive goal, so I'm pretty pleased to have done it! Good luck to you, too!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2007 04:30 am (UTC)
i'll have to check this one out! and i think i'll read it a little at a time too. thanks for the review!

alisonwonderland
http://books4alison.blogspot.com
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2007 02:36 pm (UTC)
I love this book! I really enjoyed the essay about marrying libraries, and Never do that to a book. Insert a carrot is a great one too. :) I don't remember the Secondhand prose essay, I'll have to go back and reread that one.
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2007 02:38 pm (UTC)
I love this book! I really enjoyed the essay about marrying libraries, and Never do that to a book. Insert a carrot is a great one too. :) I don't remember the Secondhand prose essay, I'll have to go back and reread that one.

Alisia
juliette_m_m
Sep. 21st, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on completing the 50 book challenge! I have till February to get there so I will be a little further on down the way. Did you develop your grammar radar in England I wonder:)
laura0218
Sep. 22nd, 2007 02:02 am (UTC)
Well Julie, I have to say I was a grammar nut before I moved to England. But I was certainly in good company there!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
Ex Libris was a totally formative book-about-books for me. I always think of Anne Fadiman's family proofreading menus at restaurants when I go out and do the same. Glad you enjoyed it!
(Anonymous)
Sep. 21st, 2007 11:59 pm (UTC)
Whoops
Meant to add my signature at the end of the last comment, sorry! It's Kristen from Critical Lass (criticallass.blogspot.com). Silly me :)
(Anonymous)
Sep. 22nd, 2007 11:49 am (UTC)
Thanks for sharing your review. I had not heard of this book, it sounds right up my alley.

Found you through Semicolon blog's Saturday Review of books.

I am a PaperBackSwap lover too!

ChristineMM
www.thethinkingmother.blogspot.com
(Anonymous)
Sep. 23rd, 2007 03:32 am (UTC)
I too loved this book. It seems we have a lot of reading in common. How do you determine what books to read next? Do you work from a list?

Petunia
http://educatingpetunia.blogspot.com/
laura0218
Sep. 23rd, 2007 10:21 am (UTC)
Thanks for your comment!

In deciding what to read, in general I like prizewinners and other "notable" books that have received critical acclaim somewhere. I am also get a lot of book recommendations through members of LibraryThing.

Specifically, to decide what to read at any given point in time, I admit I am a compulsive list-maker. I participate in a lot of reading challenges, so I set goals and create a list each month to help me stay on track.

How about you?
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )