Wednesday, July 17, 2019

At Large and At Small

At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays by Anne Fadiman

Anne Fadiman is always good for essays.  This is just kind of a random collection, and they're very enjoyable.  I liked the one about ice cream, and the one about mail, and "Coleridge the Runaway" did not exactly endear Coleridge to me, but it did make me want to read the biography she mentions: is impossible to read this book without imagining what it would be like to talk with Coleridge (dazzling), have him as a houseguest (arduous), walk with him in the Lake Country (fun for the first forty miles), lie with him in a field to study the moonlight (damp).

You can't have a Fadiman collection without mention of the Arctic, and this essay, "The Arctic Hedonist," is great.  Whereas "Under Water" will deliver a gut-punch.  And "Procrustes and the Culture Wars" is just as relevant now as when it was written.
"Anger and fury," observed Swift, "though they add strength to the sinews of the body, yet are found to relax those of the mind."
I enjoyed these essays, which I always do when they're written by Anne Fadiman.

In other news, this summer has been absolutely nutso, and is heading towards a zenith of chaos.  I've got a 19-yo prepping to move out (Sunday is the day), a 16-yo prepping for back-to-back trips (leaving Thursday), and I'm going on a trip on Sunday for a week.  So naturally we decided to paint a bathroom and the hall right beforehand!  I've been spackling and TSPing and paint-buying.  Wish me luck.  And I don't think I'll be posting for a couple of weeks....


o said...

This looks great - i'm really into essays at the moment.

I hope things are calming down now? It does sound like you're having a rather insane summer...

o said...

(I forgot to subscribe to the comments so I'm just leaving another one so I can tick the box!)

Jean said...

I'm still on my trip! It's been fun, in a new and different way. I go home tomorrow so I'll write up a post soon to tell about my adventures. After that, my 16yo is going to camp for a week and I'll have a bunch of work to do. And then it's practically time for school to start!

Jenny @ Reading the End said...

I enjoyed this collection a lot too! It was a while ago that I read it, but I remember being really charmed by it.

I hope your nutso summer calms down a little bit soon!