I must confess that a year ago, when I discovered Carrie’s Essay Reading Challenge, one of the first things I thought was that it would be the perfect excuse for ordering a copy of Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman – it had been on my wish list for ages.
I signed up for 20 essays and I placed my order.
The book duly arrived, and I tucked it away so that it would be a treat for Christmas and a conclusion to a challenge.
Earlier this year I read 6 lovely essays by Virginia Woolf in The London Scene. And then I listened to 5 authors’ essays about Edgar Allen Poe, courtesy of BBC Radio 4. So now I have read 18 in Ex Libris I have a total of 29. Target exceeded!
And Ex Libris was a joy!
Writings about books and closely related subjects. Written with love and joy. And with wit and erudition.
I was smitten from the very first essay, It’s a lovely account of the writer and her husband finally deciding to combine their separate libraries – the ultimate proof of true love.
It soon becomes clear that all of the family love books, and that brings a wonderful warmth to many of the essays
Like the one that really hooked me. How do you a page? Do you mark it with a bookmark? What sort? Or do you simply leave the book face down? What does that say about what kind of person, what kind of reader you are? I do both – what does that say about me I wonder?!
Then there’s ‘Odd Shelf’. The books that seem unconnected to the rest of your reading and that maybe say a lot about you – I have to think about that one!
Wonderful words about inscriptions – I love them – and so much more.
Anne Fadiman is clearly much more educated than me and she reads very different books, but that matter not at all. Her love of books and reading carry the day, and they make this volume a sheer delight.
I’ve loved all of my essays this year and I’ll definitely be reading more next year – another volume of Anne Fadiman’s writing is already on order.
Thank you Carrie !