Sunday, March 24, 2019

"never stopped reading since they were children"

Now let’s think of Wendy and Alex in a different way, as the sort of people I know to exist. You probably know them too. You might be a lot like them.
Wendy and Alex have never stopped reading since they were children. Reading books, watching films, looking at art—these are simply things they would never not do, whatever stage they are in their lives, however much money they do or don’t have. They know how to find out about what they might like and what they might not like, whether this information arrives in their mailbox or their inbox or through one of their feeds (which feature as many strangers discussing Marcel Proust or Clarice Lispector or the Norton Anthology of Poetry as they do media outlets). Neither Wendy nor Alex thinks much about the distinction between fiction and non-fiction, but they can tell good writing from dull writing. Good writing casts a spell, but spells can be hard to find. They know the names of critics and love the clang and clack and click of minds you hear in a well-wrought piece of criticism. They’re attracted to disputation and to esoteric books. They too never have enough time, but they’re not too concerned about wasting it. They like to figure things out for themselves.

From “Like This or Die”, The fate of the book review in the age of the algorithm by Christian Lorentzen