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Bloody Shambles

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Pale Fire: A Poem in Four Cantos by John Shade
Vladimir Nabokov, Brian Boyd
Pale Fire
Vladimir Nabokov
Lords of Chaos: The Bloody Rise of the Satanic Metal Underground New Edition
Michael Moynihan, Didrik Søderlind
Under Stones
Bob Franklin
The Erotic Potential of My Wife
David Foenkinos, Yasmine Gaspard
A Corner of White
Jaclyn Moriarty
Winter's Bone
Daniel Woodrell
Progress: 99 %
Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders
Neil Gaiman
The Beetle
Richard Marsh
Wreck This Journal
Keri Smith
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader - Anne Fadiman In the spirit of full disclosure, this book was selected for me as part of a Bossy Book Challenge. A book of essays about reading is certainly something I would never have chosen for myself, but I did try to keep an open mind..I understand why people like this book. The writer obviously truly loves books to the point of obsession, and anyone with a love of books will find something to relate to here. Unfortunately, that thing is unlikely to be the writer herself. The book's subtitle is, "Confessions of a Common Reader", but the word "common" is apparently intended to mean "wealthy and privileged", "having a classical literature degree" and "being part of an elite literary circle". This woman actually seems to believe that all teenagers go through a sonnet-writing phase. Fadiman describes herself in the book as, "an unregenerate goody-goody, a priggish little pedant who would no more have permitted a rogue trochee to sneak among her perfect iambs than show up in Miss Farrar's class with a smudge on her monogrammed school uniform." Now observe the teenage Ruby Tombstone and her circle of friends in 1986:Not a sonnet between us.This is a woman who reads old books, makes a list of the words she doesn't understand and then quizzes her family and friends on them. For fun. And keeps score. Her mother keeps hundreds of newspaper clippings of grammatical errors, intending to mail them in to the paper one day. Fadiman went through the clippings and catalogued them. She made meticulous corrections on a paperback edition of Speak, Memory and sent them to Nabokov himself. She grew up watching college quiz shows with her family, playing as a team against the teams on tv, using the chair arms as buzzers. As an adult, she remembers their high scores, and which colleges her family "beat". She says in the book, I know what you may be thinking. "What an obnoxious family! What a bunch of captious, carping, pettifogging little busybodies!" No. That was not at all what I was thinking. It's not what anybody in the world was thinking. What I was thinking was, Fuck you, lady, and the iambic pentameter you rode in on.The final straw was this phrase the author uses when discussing her father's library, which apparently, spanned the globe and three millennia, although it was particularly strong in English poetry and fiction of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The only junk, relatively speaking, was science fiction.. Really, Ms Fadiman? You're above science fiction too? You've spent an entire chapter boring me stupid with anecdotes about your reading of European mail order catalogues and now you're dismissing science fiction as "junk"? I'd like to reiterate my earlier point and say, Fuck. You.If you're wondering what there is to like about this book, it's this: Anyone who loves books will see something in here to remind them of their own reading foibles. The discussion on how people treat their paper books is one I often see on GoodReads (ie Are you a "courtly" or a "carnal" reader?) and is bound to raise a smile of recognition. There are lots of examples in this book of other people with book obsessions just like our own. Just no examples of people just like us. Prigs, pedants and pretentious elitists excluded, of course.