The essays were originally written over a few years and published in book form in 1998. My favorite may very well be the first one, "Marrying Libraries", which is about Fadiman and her husband finally combining their books after several years of marriage. B and I still haven't unpacked the books. We wandered the apartment this morning looking for one he couldn't remember if he had or not. Most of the boxes i popped open and went "nope, these are mine" or "I might have put a book in this box, let's see" but we never did find it.
Other essays that i responded to were "The Literary Glutton", about words as nourishment, and "Second hand Prose", about the joys of used books. Fadiman and i have some of the same attitudes towards books and reading so perhaps that's why i enjoyed these essays so much. I have had this same experience she mentions in "My Ancestral Castles", even without having kids:
when i walk into an apartment with books on the shelves, books on the bedside tables, books on the floor, and books on the toilet tank, then I know what I would see if I opened the door that says PRIVATE-GROWNUPS KEEP OUT: a child sprawled on the bed, reading.
maybe it is just me but i found her essays beautiful and also melancholy. Most gave me tears in my eyes at the very end. a 7. Go read it.