Sunday, April 26, 2009

Pity the lit'ry snobs ...

... With Kindle, Can You Tell It’s Proust? (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Anne Fadiman, the author, was relieved to learn that her essay collection, “Ex Libris,” was not available on Kindle. “It would really be ironic if it were,” she said of the book, which evokes her abiding passion for books as objects.
I would think it was paradoxical.

Nicholson Baker, who writes fiction and nonfiction books, feels much the same way, even though he defines himself by the contents of his (physical) library. Years ago, he walked into a temporary job with a copy of “Ulysses.” “I wanted people to know I wasn’t just a temp,” he said, “but rather a temp who was reading ‘Ulysses.’ ”
Pathetic. And what's with this thing about identifying Fadiman as an author and Baker as writing fiction and nonfiction? Who the hell do they think would read this piece?


  1. Anonymous8:13 PM

    A fellow temp, eh? Hmm, he obviously never learnt that you survive by looking as harmless and dopy as possible. i actually used to choose which book to take to work according to how harmless it seemed, after getting a few sarcastic comments for reading 'difficult' books during lunch.

  2. Pity's too good for them... It's like the people on trains who hold up their copy of, for example, 2666 up high so everyone can see.

    Not big, not clever, and everyone thinks you're a wee bit silly. No, really.

    (When I was a temp I always used to hide my books... I'd rather people didn't think I was "interesting" or "weird" or "pretentious" or worthy of an "oh... right")

  3. heh, heh. If I was reading on trains in this environment, I might start covering my book in brown bags.

  4. A man on my train actually does! Well, in brown paper. And once in a street map.

    But I'm good at sneaking a peek at what folk read - he reads history books. Last one was about the English Civil War; prior to that a book on the Jewish-Roman Wars of the first century. :)

  5. Mary Lynn10:54 AM

    you really care that much about what other people think? Why?

  6. What I read is my concern. In Scotland, lots of people judge you. This is a country where being called "clever" is an insult. Which is very, very depressing.

  7. Anonymous5:44 PM

    i find that people who don't read - or only read fluff - imagine you despise them as human beings therefore. i believe the reasoning runs thus:

    "He's reading a book about the Medieval church. I don't read books like that. He must look down on me because I don't read books like that. I hate him."

    as a temp you're at the bottom of the ladder so anyone who wants to can cause you serious problems. You can't afford to arouse ire, and there's no point reassuring people that you know plenty of fine people who don't read anything, and plenty of bad people who read Shakespeare. Better just to avoid it altogether.

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