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At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by…
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At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays (2007)

by Anne Fadiman

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Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Lovely collection of personal essays, ending with a powerful and disturbing memoir. Made me want to compulsively chase up her sources on Charles Lamb, natural history museums, and Nabokov's butterfly collecting. ( )
  adzebill | Aug 4, 2013 |
Engrossing and erudite essays are gem-like in their precision and sparkle. Informed by Fadiman's multi-faceted education and just personal enough to add depth and clarity. Highly recommended. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
I was charmed by this book. The only thing that alternated between charming me and irritating me was that Fadiman uses a lot of words that I am just not familiar with. She readily admits to a "weakness for long words" right up front - in the very first essay, as a matter of fact. And now I have a four columns of words on a post-it with which I need to familiarize myself - not my standard reading experience at all.

I should say, though, that her admirably extensive vocabulary doesn't get in the way of the book at all. And who knows - it might just make me a better Scrabble player! ( )
  cat-ballou | Apr 2, 2013 |
I'm sort of astonished by how much I enjoyed this. (Lack of rating/shelves is due to a screwy internet connection.) The juxtaposition of the personal and the factual is a very hard thing to pull off properly, but I almost never wanted to tell Fadiman to shut up and stop talking. The subjects she chooses are interesting, if a trifle conventional, I'm fascinated by the glimpses of her young-adulthood and brother, and the writing is elegant and fluent. ( )
  cricketbats | Mar 30, 2013 |
A lovely book that I am sad to have finished, but glad to have such a nice list of sources/books in the back, so I can look further into those essay topics that really caught my interest. Some of my favorite essays were about the mail, coffee, and being a night owl. Fadiman's writing shows her lineage and her extensive vocabulary, but without making the reader feel dumb. Instead, I felt like I got to learn a lot of neat new words. Another good book for keeping on the bedside table and reading an essay a night. ( )
  sriemann | Mar 29, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
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For Kim
Collector of Tiger Swallowtails,
Emperor of Ice Cream.
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Just over half a century ago, in "A Gentle Dirge for the Familiar Essay", a dispirited writer mourned the imminent death of a genre that was "setting to the horizon, along with the whole constellation: formal manners, apt quotation, Greek and latin, clear speech conversation, the gentleman's library, the gentleman's income, the gentleman."
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Kim said, "When you collect nature, there are two moments of discovery. The first comes when you find the thing. The second comes when you find the name."
Don't we all just keep doing the things that make us even more like ourselves?
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374106622, 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 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 Häagen-Dazs Chocolate Chocolate Chip and her brother’s homemade Liquid Nitrogen Kahlúa 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:54 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"In At Large and At Small, Anne Fadiman returns to one of her favorite genres, the familiar essay - a beloved literary tradition recognized for both its intellectual breadth ("at large") and its miniaturist focus ("at small"). 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, ranging 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."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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