Review: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader / by Madeleine

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You know that feeling of wanting to read a quick, relatively cheerful, and enthralling book? I tend to feel that at the end of each November, after I've spent two to three months knee-deep in gothic literature. I love fall reading, but when December arrives I'm always in need of a breath of fresh air. Enter my new bookclub! Anne Bogel, our fearless (bookish) leader, chose Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader for our December book and it was the perfect antidote to all my fall reading.

I flew through this slim collection of essays in just a day or so and reveled in the bookish-ness of it. Like myself (and you, dear reader), Anne Fadiman has been a bookworm for her entire life. Unlike me, Anne reads the heavy stuff. She speaks of Chaucer and Dickens with ease and has such an intense love for the English language that reading her prose made me feel smarter by proxy. I love her enthusiasm for all things literature, and I remarked recently that her tone reminded me of a grown-up Anne Shirley (if you know Anne of Green Gables, then you know that's high praise).

Fadiman's essays range from thoughts on marrying her library with her husbands (a huge milestone), to her family's background in being grammar snobs, to her thoughts on "You-Are-There Reading," plagiarism, and the inheriting of libraries. I can't help but think this book would make a perfect stocking-stuffer for the bookworm in your life. It's one that I'll certainly return to throughout my reading life.

Bottom Line Rating: 5/5


  • Title: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader
  • Author: Anne Fadiman
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998
  • Price: $8 on Amazon
  • ISBN: 0374527229
  • Format: Paperback
  • Source: Amazon