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Literary Reading in Decline

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Tim Powers takes on literary overproduction in an essay that starts off with the same eyeroll-inducing sighs about how everyone can get published now--but which ends on a better, more balanced note:


How to respond, then, to this now permanent condition of overproduction? With cheerful skepticism. With gratitude for those rare occasions when we come across a book that speaks to us personally. With forgiveness for those critics and publishers who induce us to waste our time with some literary flavor of the day. Absolutely without indignation, since none of this is anyone’s particular “fault.” Above all with a sense of wonder and curiosity at the general and implacable human determination (mine included) to fill endless space with dubious mental material when life is short and there are so many other things to be done.


I'm sticking this here because the question of "literary reading" declining and the question of literary over-production seem to be entwined in certain ways, insofar as part of the complaint would be that people are reading "junk" instead of "literature."

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