Summary: Is a book the same book-- or a reader the same reader-- the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. The editor of ''Rereadings ''is Anne Fadiman and readers of her bestselling book ''Ex Libris ''will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts Allegra Goodman Vivian Gornick Patricia Hampl Phillip Lopate and Luc Sante; the objects of their literary affections range fr
om ''Pride and Prejudice ''to ''Sue Barton Student Nurse'' These essays are not conventional literary criticism; they are about relationships. ''Rereadings ''reveals at least as much about the reader as about the book: each is a miniature memoir that focuses on that most interesting of topics the protean nature of love. And as every bibliophile knows no love is more life-changing than the love of a book.
Summary: Is a book the same book-- or a reader the same reader-- the second time around? The seventeen authors in this witty and poignant collection of essays all agree on the answer: Never. The editor of ''Rereadings ''is Anne Fadiman and readers of her bestselling book ''Ex Libris ''will find this volume especially satisfying. Her chosen authors include Sven Birkerts Allegra Goodman Vivian Gornick Patricia Hampl Phillip Lopate and Luc Sante; the objects of their literary affections range from ''Pride and Prejudice ''to ''Sue Barton Student Nurse'' These essays are not conventional literary criticism; they are about relationships. ''Rereadings ''reveals at least as much about the reader as about the book: each is a miniature memoir that focuses on that most interesting of topics the protean nature of love. And as every bibliophile knows no love is more life-changing than the love of a book. ...show less
Edition/Copyright:06 Cover: Paperback Publisher:Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Inc. Year Published: 2006 International: No
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Excerpted fromRereadingsedited by Anne Fadiman. Foreword and editorial work copyright 2005 by Anne Fadiman. Published in September 2005 by Farrar Straus and Giroux LLC. All rights reserved. Foreword: On Rereading When my son was eight I read C. S. Lewis'sThe Horse and His Boyaloud to him. I had originally read it when I was eight myself and although I'd reread the better-known Narnia booksThe Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe; the Magician's Nephew The Silver Chairin the interim more than forty years had passed since I'd readThe Horse and His Boy. Reading a favorite book to your child is one of the most pleasurable forms of rereading provided the child's enthusiasm is equal to yours and thus gratifyingly validates your literary taste your parental competence and your own former self. Henry lovedThe Horse and His Boy the tale of two children and two talking horses who gallop across an obstacle-fraught desert in hopes of averting the downfall of an imperiled kingdom that lies to the north. It's the most suspenseful of the Narnia books and Henry who was at that poignant age when parents are still welcome at bedtime but can glimpse their banishment on the horizon begged me each night not to turn out the light just yet: how about another page and then how about another paragraph and then come on how about just one moresentence? There was only one problem with this idyllic picture. As I read the book to Henry I was thinking to myself that C. S. Lewis not to put too fine a point on it was a racist and sexist pig. I'd read two biographies of Lewis and knew that his relations with women colored by the death of his mother when he was nine were pretty peculiar. I'd read ''The Shoddy Lands'' a creepy misogynist fantasy in which the (male) narrator encounters a giantess whose nude body makes him gag. However I rememberedThe Horse and His Boyonly as a rollicking equestrian adventure sort of likeMisty of Chincoteaguebut with swordfights instead of Pony Penning Day. My jaw dropped when I realized that Aravis its heroine is acceptable to Lewis because she acts like a boyshe's interested in ''bows and arrows and horses and dogs and swimming''and even dresses like one whereas the book's only girly girl a devotee of ''clothes and parties and gossip'' is an object of contempt. Even more appalling was Lewis's treatment of the Calormenes a brown-skinned people who wear turbans and carry scimitars. (Forty years ago the crude near-homonym had slipped by me. This time around I wondered briefly if Lewis was thinking only about climatecaloris Latin for ''heat''but decided that was unlikely. It's as if he'd named a Chinese character Mr. Yellow: it had to be on purpose.) The book's hero Shasta is the ward of a venial Calormene fisherman but as a visitor observes ''this boy is manifestly no son of yours for your cheek is as dark as mine but the boy is fair and white.'' That's how we know he belongs to a noble northern race instead of an uncouth southern one. Of the Calormene capitalthe seat of a fat obnoxious vulgarly bejeweled potentate called the TisrocLewis remarks that ''what you would chiefly have noticed if you had been there was the smells which came from unwashed people unwashed dogs scent garlic onions and the piles of refuse which lay everywhere.'' It was difficult to read this kind of thing to Henry without comment: the words after all were coming to him inmy voice.
Praise for Rereadings: ''An absolute delight for those of us who live to read (and reread) . . . Fadiman has done such a fine job of selecting and arranging these pieces that they become a kind of composite literary coming-of-age memoir from the geeky horny adolescent madly thumbing Franny and Zooey or Lord Jim in some shag-carpeted suburban basement bedroom to the sadder but wiser critic novelist poet who gazes wistfully at the ghost of a younger self rising from the pages of a once-loved book.'' David Laskin The Seattle Times ''A delightful glimpse into the relationship between reader and book.'' --Teresa K. Weaver The Atlanta Journal-Constitution ''If you're a fan of Anne Fadiman's Ex Librisand who among right-thinking people isn't?then your heart will skip a beat over her new anthology Rereadings . . . thoroughly enjoyable essays.'' Claire Dederer Newsday ''A deep and wonderfully complex story about relationships . . . Anne Fadiman's diverse collection of essays encourages readers to rethink the way we see our favorite books and ultimately the way we see ourselves through them.'' Jill Marr Pages Praise for Ex Libris: ''For Fadiman books are the building blocks with which a life is made. . . With breezy self-effacing humor and dollops of literary trivia the essays in Ex Libris try to cajole us into restoring books to the heart of family life.'' Lucia Perillo Chicago Tribune ''A terrifically entertaining collection of personal essays about books . . . Heartening tender wise and hilarious.'' Patsy Baudoin The Boston Book Review ''Each essay is a model of clarity and lightly worn erudition and speaks volumes about the author's appreciation for people as well as books.'' The New Yorker ''A smart little book that one can happily welcome into the family and allow to start growing old.'' Christopher Lehmann-Haupt The New York Times
View Table of Contents
Forward by Anne Fadiman David Samuels
Marginal Notes on the Inner Lives of People with Cluttered Apartments in the East Seventies Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger Patricia Hampl
Relics of Saint Katherine The Journal Letters and Storiesof Katherine Mansfield Sven Birkerts
Love's Wound Love's Salve Pan by Knut Hamsun Vijay Seshadri
Whitman's Triumph "Song of Myself" by Walt Whitman Arthur Krystal
Kid Roberts and Me The Leather Pushers by H.C. Witwer Diana Kappel Smith
My Life with a Field Guide A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and Northcentral North America by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny Luc Sante
A Companion of the Prophet Arthur Rimbaud by Enid Starkie Katherine Ashenburg
Three Doctors' Daughters The Sue Barton Books by Helen Dore Boylston Jamie James "You Shall Hear of Me" Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad Vivian Gornick
Love with a Capital L The Vagabondand
The Shackle by Colette Michael Upchurch
Stead Made Me Do It House of All Nations by Christina Stead Allegra Goodman
Pemberley Previsited Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Pico Iyer
Lawrence by Lightning The Virgin and the Gypsy by D.H. Lawrence Barbara Sjoholm
The Ice Palace "The Snow Queen" by Hans Christian Andersen Evelyn Toynton
Revisiting Brideshead Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh Phillip Lopate
The Pursuit of Worldliness The Charterhouse of Parma by Stendhal David Michaels
The Back of the Album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles
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