119 Comments
Feb 24Liked by Suzy Weiss

My lovely 27 yo daughter just got dumped by her new great bf (the classic "it's not you it's me, sadly). When she called to tell me she mentioned that her current book was so good that she was actually distracted from her heartache. Oh, what is it? "East of Eden"

I can die happy. One of my kids is a reader.

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Since recently retiring I am re-reading many novels from my past ( I always knew there was a reason I kept the books). Currently reading Spangle by Gary Jennings, which is probably his least interesting work, and it is jarring reading some of the dialogue in a book taking place in 1865 at the tail end of the civil war. Still, reading for me has always been a private affair, especially fiction, so I guess I'll simply continue to enjoy my library which can't be banned or culled by the woke or the prudish. John Irving may be next since I've finished the Asian Saga books of James Clavell.

I really don't see why so many people struggle with retiring since books exist.

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Great piece but it misses a central element to our collective experience that’s now gone.

By and large, we don’t know what people are reading anymore. It used to be one stroll up the aisle in an airplane or subway or bus and we knew what everyone was reading. Nowadays, if people are interacting with books at all, it’s often on their phones/tablets or being listened to.

We don’t get the communal sense of what’s being consumed even if we’re all somehow consuming the same thing.

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This isn't new. The phenomenon of a library full of beautifully bound books that the owner has never read has been around for two centuries. Displaying books has been performative for a long time.

Social media has made it possible to perform the display of books to thousands or millions instead of the dozens of people that you invite into your home or the hundreds who see you reading a book on public transit. It is a change of scale, not a change of behavior.

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Ladies, don’t be afraid of a man reading JBP.

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Who Is Reading Even for Anymore?

I don't understand the grammar / word usage in the title of this essay. It makes me think, who is writing anymore?

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I usually do 90% of my reading on my phone, but I won't deny the power of a physical book (especially now that I know many of my favorite works are being rewritten by "sensitivity readers" -- eg future generations will never get to enjoy the original works of Agatha Christie and many others).

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Feb 24·edited Feb 24

There are too many people worrying about what others are thinking of them. Letting go of these kinds of worries is liberating. There is a grand world of books to captivate the mind. All sorts of books. Why care what someone else thinks?

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founding

If someone is “reading” a dense book in a noisy public environment its performative and don’t be impressed. If its Harry Potter they might actually be reading the book. This isn’t unique to books though. People do all sort of things for attention. That guy who goes jogging shirtless through a crowded area? Its to be seen. Running through a crowd is super annoying, one would only do it for attention.

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Remember when famous people would wear glasses to make them look smart?

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My idea of a good book has too often conflicted with what the mainstream says is a good book. The list of classics and popular works that I don't get grows longer. Some of my favorite books people have never heard of.

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Heresy Press was founded precisely to provide a home for authors and stories that are not selected because of their politics, representation, or authorial identity but simply because of "the quality of the storytelling." It is a sign of our times, that this has become somewhat of a radical position.

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If you look at the photo of MM "reading" Ulysses, you'll see that she isn't reading anything and just looking at the last page of the book, which is blank.

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Schools rarely have kids read whole books anymore, even in high schools (except for the college level courses, and even that is questionable), let alone classics. At least books can be used for social clout in a world of shallow and illiterate “words are hard” morons. Dystopia achieved!

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A 1985 Los Angeles Times ad for an Adirondack chair: "Wide, flat arms to hold Ramos gin fizz, binoculars, and volume III of Remembrance of Things Past."

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A book as a prop. Not in a photoshoot but in real life. You just can’t trust anyone. I suppose, if they are reading from a Kindle, you can probably assume they are a reader? Or do people pose with Kindles just so someone will ask them what they are reading? Ugh. Old man shakes fist at clouds.

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