Like romantic love, early book-love is ecstatic. As a young reader curls up with a novel, its fictional characters seem real, while the real world pales into comparative insignificance. Can that ecstasy be recaptured? Is a book--or a reader--the same the second time around? In an evening of conversation for bibliophiles, Anne Fadiman will explore the emotionally charged topic of rerereading along with David Samuels and David Michaelis, two of the authors who contributed to REREADINGS: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love, a witty and poignant collection of essays that Fadiman selected and edited. André Aciman will moderate.
Moderator André Aciman muses: "The books I read once changed me more than the books I read today. I reread old books not only to rediscover what was so special about them, but to recover the kind of starstruck reader I was then."
About Anne Fadiman:
Anne Fadiman is the Francis Writer in Residence at Yale University. She is the author of Ex Libris and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. She was awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award. In her introduction to Rereadings, Fadiman compared rereading to remeeting an old lover and described the bittersweet experience of reading one of C.S. Lewis's Narnia books to her eight-year-old son.
About David Michaelis:
David Michaelis's contribution to Rereadings is a memorable riff on the lyrics featured on the back of the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles in "The Back of the Album." He is the author of N. C. Wyeth: A Biography, winner of the 1999 Ambassador Book Award for Biography, given by the English-Speaking Union of the United States. His previous books include a collection of biographical sketches, The Best of Friends. Michaelis's work has appeared in Vanity Fair, Conde Nast Traveler, American Heritage, and The New York Observer, for which he regularly reviews books; he is currently working on a biography of Charles M. Schulz. He lives in New York City.
About David Samuels:
David Samuels contributed an essay on rereading J.D. Salinger's Franny and Zooey entitled "Marginal Notes on the Inner Lives of People with Cluttered Apartments in the East Seventies." He also has written about atom bombs, dog tracks, anarchists, rappers, forgers, demolition men, and religious visionaries for Harper's Magazine (of which he is a contributing editor), The New Yorker, and other publications. He and his wife live in Brooklyn, next to a mosque.
About André Aciman:
André Aciman is the author of Out of Egypt, False Papers, and the co-author and editor of The Proust Project and of Letters of Transit. He was born in Alexandria and lived in Egypt, Italy, and France. Educated at Harvard University, he has taught at Princeton University and Bard College and teaches Comparative Literature at The CUNY Graduate Center. He is the recipient of a Whiting Writers' Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship as well as a fellowship from The New York Public Library's Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers. He has written for The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, and Commentary.