Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Books the new snobbery

As reported on the Guardian website today, books have become the latest in-thing that people buy to show they are intelligent. Now this can be looked upon in two ways. It is good for us book-buying public because it indicates that books as a phenomenon are finding mass acceptance. But what is worrying is the impact that the alleged inspiration for buying books, as indicated in this report, would have on the intellectual rigour one expects from those who read. I mean what decent discussion can you have with someone who got The Name of the Rose solely to look fashionable? The prospects of the report, if you skim the surface, are unsettling.
(To be taken with the tongue firmly in cheek)

Excerpts from the report:

Driven partly by pressure from incessant literary prize shortlists, more than one in three consumers in London and the south-east admit having bought a book "solely to look intelligent", the YouGov survey says.

The biggest group, more than two in every five people, follows the traditional method of choosing their reading; relying on recommendations from close family and friends.

The sample's own top 10 titles, a mixture of classic and popular, is: the Bible, Lord of the Rings, one or other of the Harry Potter stories, Catch-22, Animal Farm, The Hobbit, Pride and Prejudice, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Da Vinci Code, Wuthering Heights.

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