It was a busy weekend reading-wise - I think I read a total of 10 books. So it seems to appropriate that I write about the book which I read which was about books and reading.
I came across Ex Libris on Stuck-in-a-book 6 months ago, when I first found Simon's blog, and added it to my wishlist. It was also recommended to me by a colleague when he discovered my blog. After the disappointment of Howards End is on the landing, I was keen to read a bookish book to comfort me in my addiction to books and to make me feel that I could justify my reading. So it was time to reserve it at the library and indulge in the thoughts of another book-lover.
It is a little book of essays (I won't pretend that the 10 books I read this weekend were all chunksters!), subtitled "The confessions of a common reader". And I identified with so many of the confessions!
In the essay, My ancestral castles, Fadiman describes how "other people's walls looked naked to me". She grew up with parents who owned over 7000 books and required 1/4 mile of shelving to be put into every house they moved to. As a child I often wondered why the houses I visited didn't have many books and was always glad to return home to my bungalow where there was not space to fit in another bookshelf.
I particularly loved Fadiman's discussions of childhood reading and reading with her children. Reading was incredibly important to me as a child and I think it is crucial that parents spend time reading with their children. In the essay, Sharing the mayhem, she describes coming down for breakfast to find her daughter eating rice crispies while her father reads to her from Dahl's Boy:
"Had I been a better mother I would have said "After breakfast". Instead I joined the audience."
Full of little gems, I really would recommend this book to all book-lovers - another wonderful Christmas present I think.
Mavis Gallant’s “Madeline’s Bithday” (1951)
5 hours ago