Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ex Libris

As a fellow book-lover, I really loved this delightful little book. In it, Anne Fadiman collects a series of essays she wrote about her books and her love of reading over the course of a four-year period. It is only about 150 pages and reads pretty quickly. I read the whole thing while my nephew took a nap!

It first caught my eye because of the subtitle: "Confessions of a Common Reader", but wooed me completely as I flipped through the pages. I adored the first essay, and it remained my favorite. "Marrying Libraries" was all about the saga of finally deciding to merge her massive collection of books with her husband's (after they had already lived together for several years). She spoke of arguments over organizational systems (alphabetically or chronologically?) and the tragedy of letting go of duplicate copies.

Other essays were about words ("The Joy of Sesquipedalians"-which is such a big fancy word (that means, well, basically big fancy word, apparently) that my spellchecker won't recognize it!), inscriptions ("Words on a Flyleaf"), and book care ("Never Do That To A Book").

The author was so clearly attached to her books (as I am) that it made me wonder. Is there a difference between someone who loves books and someone who just loves reading? I tend to think they go together, because they do for me, but maybe they don't. I'm assuming that a lover of books (someone who gets attached to the physical paper and glue) also loves reading, but isn't it possible that someone who loves to read isn't really all that fond of the books themselves? Does that make any sense?

Regardless of what kind of book/reading lover you are-I would recommend Fadiman's books. It's short, but delightful (a National Bestseller, as well!).

And I'm curious-have any of you ever had to marry your library to another?


Anonymous said...

Your question about loving books versus loving reading. Its a tough one - I love reading but I really struggle with E-books - it's not the same as turning a page and knowing that you've got x amount more pages to go (does that make sense?!)

But then again e-books are less cumbersome especially when you can get them on your phone now :)

I have ALOT of books! I think some are still packed in boxes! It really annoys my other half because they take up so much room - I can't help it! If and when I get to do my own Grand Design I am going to have a library of some description hehe. with a big comfy ikea chair that I can just flop in and read for hours no days no WEEKS!

WhimsAndInconsistencies said...

When I was unpacking Lee's stuff in our apartment, I found these random fantasty books (really not my genre) that were in boxes I knew he hadn't touched in years and I was like "Can we get rid of these?" but apparently we must keep them. *sigh*