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Book 31

  1. Matheson, Richard — I Am Legend (161 pages)
  2. McCarthy, Cormac — No Country for Old Men (307 pages)
  3. Dexter, Gary — Why Not Catch 21?: The Stories Behind the Titles (213 pages)
  4. Ryman, Geoff — 253 (366 pages)
  5. Wyndham, John — The Day of the Triffids (267 pages)
  6. Kurkov, Andrey — Death and the Penguin (228 pages)
  7. Chesterton, G.K. — Orthodoxy (183 pages)
  8. Gibbs, Christopher H., ed. — The Cambridge Companion to Schubert (334 pages)
  9. Sendak, Maurice — Where the Wild Things Are (48 pages — though only 1 page will count towards my tally)
  10. Hurston, Zora Neale — Their Eyes Were Watching God (215 pages)
  11. Clarke, Arthur C. — Rendezvous With Rama (245 pages)
  12. Clarke, Arthur C. — The City and the Stars (246 pages)
  13. Chesterton, G.K. — The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare (205 pages)
  14. Tepper, Sheri S. — Beauty (468 pages)
  15. Slawson, Douglas J. — Ambition and Arrogance: Cardinal William O'Connell of Boston and the American Catholic Church (186 pages)
  16. Belloc, Hilaire — The Great Heresies (166 pages)
  17. Waugh, Evelyn — Brideshead Revisited (326 pages)
  18. Rawicz, Slavomir — The Long Walk: The True Story of a Trek to Freedom (278 pages)
  19. Junger, Sebastian — The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea (309 pages)
  20. Seth, Vikram — An Equal Music (486 pages)
  21. Dubus III, Andre — House of Sand and Fog (351 pages)
  22. Kurkov, Andrey — Penguin Lost (251 pages)
  23. Bradbury, Ray — Dandelion Wine (247 pages)
  24. Bradbury, Ray — Farewell Summer (209 pages)
  25. Doran, Jamie and Piers Bizony — Starman: The Truth behind the Legend of Yuri Gagarin (241 pages)
  26. Makine, Andreï — A Life's Music (106 pages)
  27. Barnes, Julian — A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (307 pages)
  28. Chaucer, Geoffrey — The Canterbury Tales (623 pages)
  29. Pushkin, Aleksandr — Eugene Onegin (Vladimir Nabokov, transl.) (351 pages)
  30. Lowry, Malcolm — Under the Volcano (387 pages)
  31. Fadiman, Anne — Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader (132 pages)

Page count: 8200.

For the past few months, Fadiman has been my between-books companion. Anytime I neared the end of a book and faced a commute, I'd carry Ex Libris along with whatever else I was reading, and if I finished that book, I'd read an essay or two to fill the gap. What better way to transition from one book to another than with a book about books!

Ex Libris caught my attention with its subtitle, Confessions of a Common Reader. Flipping through the table of contents, I felt as though I'd found a kindred spirit. Simply, this is a collection of essays by a lover of books: not just a lover of reading, which Fadiman certainly is, but a lover of books themselves. The essays span a variety of subjects, some quite unexpected, all delightful: Gladstone's system for arranging books, appropriate and inappropriate ways to deface books, the implications of marriage on book collections, the joy of used bookstores, location-based reading, and so on.

Ex Libris was a chance discovery the first time I entered a Daunt Books, both most felicitous discoveries. It took inordinate willpower to resist buying Fadiman's latest volume when I was last in a Waterstone's. I'm trying not to add to my book collection further until I've polished off a few more books, but part of me wonders if I wouldn't be happier having more Fadiman in my life.

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