One of my workplace partners in crime recently recommended Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman.
It’s a quick and charming read. Fadiman muses on a range of topics word nerds and bookworms will enjoy. She meditates on such subjects as inscriptions, merging libraries after several years of marriage, sonnets, and gender sensitivity in language.
But her essay, “Insert a Caret” (there are some diacritical squiggles in the way the title is rendered in the book that are tricky to reproduce here), made me just about fall out of my chair. She describes a moment when she is out to dinner with her family and they each realize that they are all proofreading the menu:
We stared at one another. You’d think that after all these decades, we Fadimans would have mapped every corner of our deviant tribal identity, but apparently there was one pan-familial gene we had never before diagnosed: we were all compulsive proofreaders.
An entire family of word nerds?! I know what you’re thinking: It’s like a dream come true.