Sunday, December 16, 2007

Crazy time of year

I should have known better than to start a new project that required time and energy and organization at the end of the year. I get too far behind.

Anyway, I haven't been too busy to read. I'm never that busy! I'm on an essay kick right now.

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Ann Fadiman
Actually this is a re-read. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed this book the first time I read it. I remember reading her columns in Civilization when it was being published and ran out and bought this book when it was published. I bought it in hardback so you know I was excited - I rarely by hardbacks - too expensive and too hard to carry around with me. But this was worth it. I particularly identified with two of her essays -
  • "Inset a Carrot" - As a family we're always pointing out misuses in things we read and have been known to verbally proofread newspaper articles and magazines, regaling each other with the malaprops and typos.
  • "The Joy of Sesquipedalians" - as a elementary school child I was accused of reading the dictionary because of my vocabulary (didn't everyone read the dictionary?!?) Our after-school activity when my sons were young was watching Jeopardy (GE College Bowl was long gone) and trying to run categories - my youngest was particularly adept. Eventually he was selected to head the highschool Scholastic Bowl team and was selected all district champion.

Definitely a 5 out of 5.

I'm currently reading Rereadings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books that They Love that she collected/edited from her days at American Scholar. Frankly, not as enjoyable since most of essays are a bit more intellectual than I enjoy. I prefer Ann Fadiman's more straightforward style. But, I thoroughly enjoyed "My Life with a Field Guide", Diana Kappel Smith's re-reading of A Field Guide to Wildflower of Northeastern and North-Central North America." And, of course, Ms. Fadiman's opening essay. But I'm less than half way through so I'll see how the rest of the essays strike me.

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