At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays

Anne Fadiman

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At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays

At Large and at Small Familiar Essays 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 miniatur

  • Title: At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays
  • Author: Anne Fadiman
  • ISBN: 9780374106621
  • Page: 175
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 miniaturist focus on everyday experiences With the combination of humor and erudition that has distinguished her as one of our finest essayists, Fadiman draws us into twelve of her pIn 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 miniaturist focus on everyday experiences With the combination of humor and erudition that has distinguished her as one of our finest essayists, Fadiman draws us into twelve of her personal obsessions from her slightly sinister childhood enthusiasm for catching butterflies to her monumental crush on Charles Lamb, from her wistfulness for the days of letter writing to the challenges and rewards of moving from the city to the country.Many of these essays were composed under the influence of the subject at hand Fadiman ingests a shocking amount of ice cream and divulges her passion for H agen Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip and her brother s homemade Liquid Nitrogen Kahl a Coffee recipe included she sustains a terrific caffeine buzz while recounting Balzac s coffee addiction and she stays up till dawn to write about being a night owl, examining the rhythms of our circadian clocks and sharing such insomnia cures as her father s nocturnal word games and Lewis Carroll s mathematical puzzles At Large and At Small is a brilliant and delightful collection of essays that harkens a revival of a long cherished genre.

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      Published :2018-06-13T12:15:22+00:00

    One thought on “At Large and at Small: Familiar Essays

    1. Trin on said:

      So, last week I went out for sushi with my parents. I had just read the essay from this collection where Fadiman talks about being a night owl; my mom is a major night owl, so, thinking she'd appreciate it, I recommended the book to her. Turns out she knows Fadiman: they went to Harvard together, lived in Dunster House together, used to fly back on the same planes from Boston to where they lived in L.A. My mom wrinkled her nose as she told me this. She and Anne were not bestest buddies, apparent [...]

    2. Michael on said:

      Oh, Anne Fadiman, how I love you. Yes, you have your George, and I have my Beth, and I'll never get to know you in anything like the way I've gotten to know you from this collection of essays and your first, Ex Libris, but it doesn't matter: I love you, anyway. I love your never expressed belief in the power of a small, focused essay to cast a meaningful light on the world at large. I love your love of Nabokov and Charles Lamb and arctic explorers and coffee; I love that reading your thoughts ab [...]

    3. David on said:

      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 wit [...]

    4. Chelsea on said:

      Delightful. Reading this was like listening to a well-educated friend tell stories- personal tales infused with interesting facts and history. Fadiman has succeeded in making me want to read more collections of familiar essays.

    5. Alicia on said:

      Essays are a difficult genre--so easy to do badly.* I am not sure when I got hooked on them, but think I have to credit EB White [of the New Yorker/ Struck & White /Charlotte's Web]. White is one of the few who cannot write a bad sentence, even when he can write an essay I don't care about. Anne Fadiman, daughter of Clifton, is a scholarly writer who tangle erudition with homely reflections (topics like ice cream, coffee addiction, moving) with a comfortable and easy hand. I particularly lik [...]

    6. Esta Doutrich on said:

      A lovely little book of lovely little essays. I especially enjoyed Procrustes and the Culture Wars, Mail, and Coffee.

    7. Gail on said:

      This has to have been one of the most unexpectedly pleasurable and edifying reads I've experienced in a long while. Not a fan of short stories or essays, I was put off reading this book, which was described as a series of "familiar essays in the style of Charles Lamb" I therefore allowed this edition to languish on my bedside cabinet far too long. When I eventually picked it up I was swept away by it. Anne Fadiman has a brand new "no. 1 fan", though I promise, I won't be taking a sledgehammer t [...]

    8. Ellen Keim on said:

      I feel really outnumbered because so many readers gave this book 4 or 5 stars, but I just didn't like this book as well as I thought I would. Fadiman is a great writer, no question. But she's almost too intellectual for my taste. Or maybe it was just that the tone was often so formal. I did like some of the essays very much, but I had to make myself read some of the others because they just seemed so academic. I understand that the author did a lot of research and it shows, but maybe I would hav [...]

    9. Sara on said:

      Fadiman is a master of the essay. I am in awe. So much fun.I just read this for the second time, and enjoyed it more than ever.

    10. Jessica on said:

      This really is a very belated review. I've read almost every essay in this book, some of them (Collecting Nature, Unfuzzy Lamb, Ice Cream, Night Owl, Mail, Coffee) several times, over the course of the last eight years but somehow never considered the book "read." So - I decided to bite off those last two holdout essays, Procrustes and the Culture Wars, and Coleridge The Runaway, and make it official.I love this book from its dust-jacket and decorated end-papers to it's format, writing, and idea [...]

    11. Marcie on said:

      I struggled with whether to give this 4 or 5 stars because it's not my favorite Anne Fadiman book (_Ex Libris_ was so funny and endearing and _The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down_ was so fascinating and relevant to my interests), but it's still extremely well written, interesting, educational and funny. I may have said it before, but essays are one of my favorite genres (tied for first with British children's novels). I just get a lot out of the mix of anecdote + nonfiction + opinion(s) I t [...]

    12. Terry Earley on said:

      This was an enjoyable little book of essays. Of course I loved "ice cream", but probably my favorite was "collecting nature".Thanks Amara.

    13. Margaret on said:

      I love Anne Fadiman's writing, and to anyone who reads this, you should, too! Just when the world is getting too depressing for words (enough with the wars and politics), along comes this wonderful book of "familiar essays" (you know, as opposed to the unfamiliar ones), covering topics as varied as Charles Lamb ("The Unfuzzy Lamb"), the author and her brother's childhood museum of scientific and bizarre curiosities ("Collecting Nature"), ice cream (of the same name), and moving (ditto). All are [...]

    14. Corey on said:

      I am a big fan of Fadiman's as well as her husband, George Howe Colt, and yet I have not been as enthused regarding both of their latest products--At Large and at Small for her, Brothers for him-- as I was with their earlier offerings. Reading Fadiman is always a pleasure since she is a real writer, someone who thoughtfully ponders each sentence she crafts, and who employs erudite language without sounding pretentious. In fact, it's refreshing to find words like "purl," "febrile", and "mendaciou [...]

    15. Max Nemtsov on said:

      Вторая книга очерков писательницы, уже становящейся одной из практически любимых, — уже не только и не столько о книгах (что мы бы предпочли в любое время), а «семейных», в лучших традициях жанра, который она же и описывает, и дает рекомендации (Давенпорта, правда, там нет, за [...]

    16. Richard Kramer on said:

      I'm two essays in, in truth, but I think this is the book I've been looking for. I met Anne Fadiman a couple of weeks ago, remembered I had her A LIBRIS at home and had never read it, and picked this up in a bookstore (a real one, or it seemed real) as a companion piece. When the student is ready the teacher appears, as some Chinese proverb says, or they appear if you've done the reading. Whatever: I have been writing some essays recently, and as I read Fadiman's essays (on a childhood natural h [...]

    17. Amy on said:

      I devoured this book in about three bites. I'm sorry that it's over but I'm happy to report that it has opened up many new avenues of study for me. My favorite sentence: "What hashish was to Baudelaire, opium to Coleridge, cocaine to Robert Louis Stevenson, nitrous oxide to Robert Southey, mescaline to Aldous Huxley, and Benzedrine to Jack Kerouac, caffeine was to Balzac." If you get a copy of this from the Monroe County public library, look for the one with the coffee stain that somehow made it [...]

    18. Kate on said:

      A good essayist is hard to find. While I preferred Fadiman's earlier collection, Ex Libris, I certainly enjoyed this one as well. The essays in this book, ranging from musings on coffee to mini-biographies of writers who have inspired Fadiman, are little jewels, some more precious than others (Fadiman is at times a little too enamored of her Wonderful Life and Family). This is a book I'll likely pick up again in a year or two--Fadiman's style is well worth emulating.

    19. Karen on said:

      This may be more like a 3.5, since I'm given to quibbling. All in all, a very pleasant read. After chapters and chapters on comparatively lighter topics (e.g. coffee addiction (yay!!), ice cream philia, butterfly collecting), the last chapter feels like being punched in the stomach or having a piano dropped on your head (it was unexpected), but its confessional tone made it one of best in the book.

    20. Jen on said:

      Fadiman is such a lovely writer! If you prefer your friends brainy, humorous, and occasionally dirty-minded, you could have no better company than this charming book of essays exploring the familiar small (and sometimes big) parts of life. And when you finish this one, be sure to pick up her other two equally wonderful books.

    21. Jensownzoo on said:

      A good collection of essays on topics that vary from ice cream to why we should read. A more serious collection than found in her other title, Ex Libris, but still enjoyable.

    22. Meredith on said:

      This is the kind of book that inspires me to write. I think the familiar essay is my new favorite literary form. I'm going to read more of her stuff.

    23. Saritha on said:

      Loved this book of essays, especially Coffee, Underwater and On Moving.

    24. Brian on said:

      Great writing about all kinds of interesting things. Effortless prose that makes you think that you could never be a writer.

    25. Krys on said:

      The familiar essays in here range from boring to shockingly captivating. Most of the boring ones can be ruled out in the titles. The two essays on food (ice cream and coffee) seemed like a way for the author to pass her own boredom, and none of the research contained within could summon anything greater than a yawn from me.What shocked me was how much I found some of the other essays enjoyable. The ones surest to be the driest, or so I thought, were the ones about historical writers, for whom Fa [...]

    26. Maryanne on said:

      At Large and At Small 07182009 Familiar Essays by Anne FadimanBy Raya Madison "lifelong lit lover" (NY USA) - See all my reviewsThis review is from: At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays (Hardcover)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 deliver [...]

    27. Yvann S on said:

      "In the fall of 1998 I finally gave in and signed up for e-mail. I had resisted for a long time. My husband and I were proud of our retrograde status. Not only did we lack a modem, but we didn't own a car, a microwave, a Cuisinart, an electric can opener, a CD player, or a cell phone. It's hard to give up that sort of backward image. I worried that our friends wouldn't have enough to make fun of."Anne Fadiman, specialist in the personal essay, turns her hand to a number of large and philosophica [...]

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