Wednesday, July 15, 2009

So some people are complaining about how the Kindle will make it impossible for them to show off what book they're reading in public the way they've always been able to on the train or in the coffeeshop or whatever. And other people are complaining that those people are snobs and isn't it a good thing that this showing off won't go on anymore. Putting aside the silliness of the idea that these stupid Kindles will replace books, what is the big deal about reading good books in public? Why does everyone so cynically assume that people do it to show off? If I want to read Infinite Jest on the subway, what am I supposed to do, wrap the cover in plain brown paper? Come on. This is crazy. Why should people be ashamed of having good taste? Why should people be ashamed of anything they're reading?

(P.S. Death to Kindle. Thank you.)


  1. I feel like the only way I'm ever going to finish INFINITE is if I'm "allowed" in terms of "public decency" to read it on the subway. I do feel that the cynicism encrypted in claiming that reading good books in public telescoping their intelligence is just another morality/decency witch hunt-type thing. I say fuck 'em. Read IJ on the train.

    Re: Kindle. I hate Kindle because it is another stop in the "digital divide." Not everyone can afford the damn thing, and the original is much better. But above all, because the kindle says not "hey, check out how smart I am," but "check out how rich I am that I can afford this dumb gizmo for use on the train..."

  2. Who the hell can read in public anyway?

    I get sick if I have to concentrate on literature AND strangers at the same time.

    You never know when somebody is going to try to kill you in America, and if that happens, I really don't want it to happen in the middle of a good sentence.

    Mary Ruefle has a poem that ends like that...about dying while reading..

    it's very funny but I can't quote it here and the book is far away (like seventy feet).

    My bad.

  3. I would read at home, but there are too many distractions. Walking the streets of Manhattan is the only way I can find peace and quiet. (Oh yes, I walk and read at the same time. I'm talented.)