Thursday, November 15, 2012
Ex Libris, or: when books become chapters of our own life story
Oct 08, 2012
(some days before Frankfurt International Bookfair)
There is a "bookish" book that i started this weekend: "Ex Libris" by Anne Fadiman. And it fits right in - it was recommended by Birdy from India, who wrote about the book: "Ex Libris recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story."
Here's a quote from the preface: "I began to write Ex Libris when it occurred to me how curious it was that books are so often written about as if they were toasters. Is this brand of toaster better than that brand of toaster? At $24.95, is this toaster a best buy? [...] This model of readers as consumers – one I have abetted in many a book review myself–neatly omits what I consider the heart of reading: not whether we wish to purchase a new book but how we maintain our connections with our old books, the ones we have lived with for years, the ones whose textures and colors and smells have become as familiar to us as our children’s skin."
Sounds fresh, i thought. And checked to see the publishing year of this book with the retro cover. Well. The book isn't retro. It's from 1953. And ast he same time, as fresh as today.
Oct. 29, 2012
There are books i don't want to end, and so i read them slowly. "Ex Libris" by Anne Fadiman is such a book - a collection of essays about reading that "recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language. For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story." (i blogged about it at the start of this month, here: Ex Libris)
The chapter i reached last week is titled: "You Are There". It is about the special joy and passion to read a book in a place that appears in the book, or, how Fadiman puts it: "the practice of reading books in the places they describe." - Like reading Homer's Odyssey in Greece, Henry David Thoreau's "Walden" in Walden, James Joyce's "Dubliners" or "Ulysses" in Dublin. Reading those lines made me smile bright, as this is what i try for when i go on journeys: to pick books that have a connection to the place. Now i know the term for it....
more here: You-Are-There Reading in Barcelona, London, Paris & with Kerouac, Joyce, Lindbergh..