Monday, January 2, 2012

Anne Fadiman

I just finished Anne Fadiman's essay collection, At Large and At Small. Lovely. So nice to read "familiar essays" on a wide range of topics, and whether you care about the subject or not before you start reading, she gets you so interested. I put a biography of Samuel Taylor Coleridge on hold because of her. A specific biography, but yeah. And I want to read more Charles Lamb now because of her.

Essays about ice cream, being a night owl, Procrustes (I didn't know who he was either), mail, coffee, and a bunch more. Plus none of these essays are about just one thing.

She also published Ex Libris, another collection of essays, and she edited Rereadings, seventeen essays by different writers revisiting books they love. These are both great. The first book I read by her, and the book for which she is best known, is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, a really important book about culture and communication, among other things. It's on my fifty favorite books list, and I hope to teach it at some point. I do think every American should read it, and lots of people who aren't. It's one of the best books I've ever read about people trying to communicate across difference, and how hard that can be, even when everyone wants the same thing--in this case, for a sick little girl to get better.

Yay 2012, reading good books.

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