WHAT IS THE LITERARY WORLD?
& why does it seem to be dominated by philistines?
Next Wednesday, February 15, I will be interviewing Colm Toibin for 192 Books and Paula Cooper Gallery in Chelsea about his new essay collection A Guest at the Feast.
I used to find it amusing that every time you read a book review on the New York Times website, a link would appear at the top of the page to something called ‘HOW TO RAISE A READER’. (Now I don’t concern myself much with children. I am not a parent, and I didn’t particularly enjoy my own childhood because it was boring—my parents were very nice, and I always had fun over the summers, especially visiting the town library, and I have a great little sister. I never read much children’s literature and was more apt to read biographies of Celtics legend Bill Russell or a book like The Curious Case of Sidd Finch by George Plimpton. I liked sports and spent most of the time I wasn’t reading throwing a tennis ball against the wall of our barn in order to practice my fielding. I also practiced free throws. A waste of time in retrospect, but things could have been worse.) The first bite-sized entry of ‘HOW TO RAISE A READER’ is headed ‘FIRST, REACQUAINT YOURSELF WITH READING.’ How odd that the New York Times assumes its readers don’t read books. Of course, people lead busy lives and don’t have the time to do all the things they’d like to do, such as finish The Man without Qualities. Still, I think a better opener for this Times feature might have been, ‘So you want your offspring to enjoy the heightened social status of being perceived to be a “reader” but you yourself hate reading books. It’s OK! Most people are like you!”