It has been a few days.
I've been taking it pretty easy, reading a lot and preparing for the coming storm that will be Garner X. My wonderful fiancee is still gone, so with the exception of some gaming sessions with the boys, I've been pretty sedate.
Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman
I just finished Anne Fadiman's 'Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader' which my Aunt Terry gave me for Christmas. Overall it was an excellent collection of essays which belongs in the 'books on books' section. Think of it as subtly meta, but not very concerned with it's own meta-ness. It contained about 12 essays on the role of books and reading in the author's life. Fadiman has a peaceful, relaxed but elegant style. She is a self-avowed compulsive editor, and is clearly a voracious reader. Also a New York literary snob of sorts, but in a good natured way. She has a great ear for language, and an encyclopedic knowledge of quotations and the lives of many authors, mostly nineteenth century. She uses great phrases, like "ossified scintillia" which are just dripping with attention to the way letters and words work together. The first essay is one that describes the occasion in which, some years after her marriage and the birth of her second child, she and her husband finally agreed to let their two libraries co-mingle. This essay struck a particular chord with me in light of my upocoming change in marital status. Another essay compared reading to eating, pointing out the metaphorical comparisons we use when descrbing books ("devoured", etc.) Another dealt with her compulsive need to add marginalia. Another with famous inscriptions on fly-leaves. Etc. Great one on the English artic explorers, etc. This is not a book for everyone, but for the dedicated reader, it is a real treat.
I'm only a few pages from the end of 'In A Narrow Grave', so expect a post on that next. For now though, Cog & I have to put together a cheap entertainment-center I just bought for the downstairs TV.