Prize-Winning Author Anne Fadiman to Discuss the Value of Books in Ithaca College Talk

ITHACA, NY — At a time when the concept of reading by turning the paper pages of a book is becoming almost antiquated, prize-winning author Anne Fadiman will discuss the value of books in a talk at Ithaca College. Her presentation, “Using Bacon as Bookmarks: How Readers Treat Their Books,” will be held at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, in Emerson Suites.

Part of the Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities series sponsored by the School of Humanities and Sciences, Fadiman’s lecture is free and open to the public. She will sign copies of her own books following her talk.

Do you dog-ear your pages and fill them with marginalia, or do you preserve your books in a pristine state? Do you truly value books and reading? Fadiman will use both personal and historical examples to explore these questions.

Fadiman is perhaps best known as the author of “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down,” a sensitive, incisive treatment of the cultural disconnects between a Hmong family in California and the American medical profession that won her the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. In 2009, it was chosen by the Young Adult Library Association as one of its recommended titles for all students, and it is frequently selected by colleges, libraries and communities for reading programs.

Her best-selling essay collection “Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader” is a book entirely about books — from purchasing to reading to handling. Her most recent collection, “At Large and At Small: Familiar Essays,” was called by the Christian Science Monitor “as close to a perfect book as you will ever hope to read.”

The inaugural Francis Writer in Residence at Yale University, Fadiman serves as both a professor in the English department and a mentor to students considering careers in writing or editing. She was a founding editor of the Library of Congress magazine Civilization and for seven years she edited the venerable literary quarterly The American Scholar. She has won National Magazine Awards for both reporting and essays, and in 2012 she was honored with the Richard H. Brodhead Prize for Teaching Excellence from Yale.

Inaugurated by Robert Pinksy, then poet laureate of the United States, the Distinguished Speaker in the Humanities series has brought an impressive array of internationally known artists and intellectuals to Ithaca College, including writer Salman Rushdie, philosopher Peter Singer and playwright Tony Kushner.

Anne Fadiman, photo by Matt Valentine