Recommended reading
My interest in books leads to odd behavior sometimes: checking out the content of the bookshelves when I am visiting someone’s home or a colleague’s study, sneaking a look at whatever my airplane seatmate is reading, poring over the list of ingredients on a cereal box when there is nothing else at hand to read.

A friend once handed me a gem of a little book: Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, by Anne Fadiman. Now I give it as a gift and quote it in wedding homilies. The first chapter is a marvelous account of a couple who, after five years of married life, decide to face the responsibility of “marrying libraries.” Fadiman confesses to resorting to reading catalogs and instructions on the side of a Waterpik box, and she tells about how her family proofread a restaurant menu and sent corrections back to the dismayed maître d’.


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