By: Anne Fadiman
This witty collection of essays recounts a lifelong love affair with books and language.
For Fadiman, as for many passionate readers, the books she loves have become chapters in her own life story. Writing with remarkable grace, she revives the tradition of the well-crafted personal essay, moving easily from anecdotes about Coleridge and Orwell to tales of her own pathologically literary family.
As someone who played at blocks with her father's 22-volume set of Trollope ("My Ancestral Castles") and who only really considered herself married when she and her husband had merged collections ("Marrying Libraries"), she is exquisitely well equipped to expand upon the art of inscriptions, the perverse pleasures of compulsive proof-reading, the allure of long words, and the satisfactions of reading out loud.
There is even a foray into pure literary gluttony––Charles Lamb liked buttered muffin crumbs between the leaves, and Fadiman knows of more than one reader who literally consumes page corners. Perfectly balanced between humor and erudition, Ex Libris establishes Fadiman as one of our finest contemporary essayists.
Published in 2000.
Published by: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Acclaimed as one of the most exciting books in the history of American letters, this modern epic became an instant bestseller upon publication in 1974, transforming a generation and continuing to inspire millions.
A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live.
Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.
Published in 2014.
In 2016, Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize in Literature ‘for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition’. This collection of essays by leading poets and critics – with a new foreword by Will Self – examines Dylan’s poetic genius, as well as his astounding cultural influence over the decades.
‘From Orpheus to Faiz, song and poetry have been closely linked. Dylan is the brilliant inheritor of the bardic tradition’ Salman Rushdie
‘The most significant Western popular artist in any form or medium of the past sixty years’ Will Self
‘For fifty and some years he has bent, coaxed, teased and persuaded words into lyric and narrative shapes that are at once extraordinary and inevitable’ Andrew Motion
‘His haunting music and lyrics have always seemed, in the deepest sense, literary’ Joyce Carol Oates
‘There is something inevitable about Bob Dylan… A storyteller pulling out all the stops – metaphor, allegory, repetition, precise detail… His virtue is in his style, his attitude, his disposition to the world’ Simon Armitage
Published in 2017.
How do you clothe a book?
In this deeply personal reflection, Pulitzer Prize–winning author Jhumpa Lahiri explores the art of the book jacket from the perspectives of both reader and writer.
Probing the complex relationships between text and image, author and designer, and art and commerce, Lahiri delves into the role of the uniform; explains what book jackets and design have come to mean to her; and how, sometimes, “the covers become a part of me.”
Published on 15 November 2016.