Jonathan Franzen

AVC: What do you think of e-readers? How do you think they will affect literature in the long term?

JF: I don’t personally like the e-readers they’ve come up with so far. I don’t fetishize books, but I do like that they’re solid and unchanging. Most of the experience of reading The Great Gatsbyis just the story itself, and you can get that in any form, including an audio version or something. But there’s something about having that book, that physical object, that I turn each page of and have on the shelf, that matters to me. And probably more important, those pages were white, and then they had Fitzgerald put on them. The problem I had with the Kindle when I tried it was, you know, first I had Ann Coulter, then I had Flannery O’Connor. [Laughs.] It’s the same little sheet. It makes everything seem unsubstantial. In my own twisted mind, it makes the words seem more arbitrary, less intrinsically valuable, less substantive if it can just be any words. We could just wipe the slate clean and get Laura Bush’s memoir, and then we could wipe it clean again and get Samuel Beckett. It’s part of that postmodern leveling, and I think people who really care about books feel in their hearts that there is actually a difference between Laura Bush’s memoir and Samuel Beckett. It’s not an elitist argument, it’s that somebody was trying to say something here, and in the other instance, a product has been put out there. So to that extent, I’m resistant to it, but that said, I’m happy with whatever form someone wants to read a book of mine.

Just had to share this q/a from this article.

Glad I’m not the only one hissing at the Nook girl in Barnes and Noble.

Amusements - Games and Rides - De-Bunk-Her - Girl reading in bed

From the NYPL Digital Gallery


"... all my lovers were there with me, all my past and futures."

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