Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman
“Ex Libris” is Anne Fadiman’s love song to books. A collection of essays on books and bibliophilia, Fadiman covers a variety of topics that will be familiar to anyone who loves books and words. She covers everything from sesquipedalians (big words) to ‘you-are-there reading’ to the essential differences between new and second hand books.
The essay that most spoke to me was “Never Do That To A Book.” I have been known (don’t hate me!) to leave my books open face down to hold my place, or even to dog ear pages. I would refrain from mentioning this on LibraryThing, because that would be sacrilege. I take solace in knowing that Fadiman doesn’t treat her books any better than I do. Fadiman would say that those LTers who might tar and feather me for breaking book spines are ‘courtly lovers’ where the physical book is sacred while she and I are ‘carnal lovers’ to whom the paper is merely a delivery system for the words and ideas the truly compose a book.
If you are a casual reader, you will probably be intimidated by some of what Fadiman says. She is very passionate about books and learning. If you are a voracious reader, you will likely identify with much or all of what she writes about and you should definitely pick this book up.