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Hardcover At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays Book

ISBN: 0374106622

ISBN13: 9780374106621

At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

In At Large and At Small, Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favorite genres, the familiar essay--a beloved and hallowed literary tradition recognized for both its intellectual breadth and its... This description may be from another edition of this product.

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Anne Fadiman is a national treasure.

Over the last several years, I must have given close to a dozen copies of Anne Fadiman's previous essay collection, "Ex Libris", to various friends. It's the kind of book you just have to share with others. It didn't seem possible that another collection could match the perfection of the first, but this one comes pretty close. Essays in the first collection focused on topics related to books and reading; the author's lifelong passion for reading shone through on every page and should resonate with any reader sharing her addiction to books. In this new collection, Fadiman demonstrates an ability to write engagingly on a wide variety of topics. Coffee, ice-cream, moving, the life of Coleridge, the essays of Charles Lamb - Fadiman expounds charmingly on these topics, and several others, making it seem easy. Like Malcolm Gladwell, she can make any topic she writes about fascinating. Of course, writing essays so polished they sparkle like gems is anything but easy. It is a testament to Fadiman's skill as a writer that she makes it seem effortless.

this book will make you smarter

Really, it will. In this collection of essays (available separately in other venues, but nestled together with great mutual congeniality in this book), Fadiman begins with her own confessed interests and obsessions--Charles Lamb and Coleridge, ice cream and coffee, arctic exploration and mail delivery, mounting butterflies and flying the flag--and traces a patient, curious path through all sorts of trackless wildernesses (ancient literature, Romantic poetry, familiar essays and out-of-print tomes) to piece together observations that are quietly illuminating not just of the subject matter but the ways Fadiman--quietly, subtly--suggests that books are to read, loves are to be cherished, life is to be lived. The clarity and precision of her prose are breath-taking; readers would never guess that Fadiman's process could entail, as she reveals in one essay, moving paragraphs about in the manner that a pet hamster transports food from one side of his cage to the other. Surprising, rewarding, and deeply interesting, this book is a necessary addition not just to your library but your experience, as it will make you want to read more widely, look more closely, and think more deeply about things, just as Fadiman does.

Another Fadiman book--hooray!

I did the dance of joy (literally) when I walked into Longfellow Books and found a new book by Anne Fadiman. Her prose is so good I want to EAT it. EX LIBRIS is a perennial fave, and now here is another dose of her wit and intelligence and interest in life and living. Her take on everything from the essayist Charles Lamb to her nutty brother's method for making ice cream with liquid nitrogen(possible side effect is frostbite of the throat)will leave you feeling engaged and smart and grateful. Thank you, Anne Fadiman. Please write faster. -- Monica Wood

write stuff

Anne Fadiman's prose is as good as it gets, even if the subjects of her essays are not always as interesting to the rest of us as they are to her. Never afraid to use a large word when a diminutive one might do, an occasional trip to the dictionary may be necessary. But the trip is always informative, and my brain was grateful for the exercise.

A Must-Read Book of Essays

Anne Fadiman in one of her essays says that a key question in the culture wars is: "Should we read great books because of their literary value or because they . . . teach us how to live?" I am not much interested in the culture wars. I read books, great and small, for pleasure. I do not remember when I have read a book with greater pleasure than this small, beautifully written, book of essays. The subjects range from butterfly collecting to ice cream to Coleridge to flying the flag after 9/11 to unexpected death. The author reveals herself as learned, loving and at times very funny. Give yourself a treat. Read this book.
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