Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Written in 1997

"Even more artificial than the second language of French I had mastered somewhat successfully as an undergraduate, the language of aesthetics and taste seemed a lifeless, abstract set of rules to memorize rather than a supple collection of expressive tools for elaborating my responses to good books. Although I inferred from seminar discussions that I ought to prefer Henry James to Anne Tyler, Faulkner to John Le Carré, Pound to Carlos Castañeda, and Gravity's Rainbow to The Thorn Birds, I could not always discipline my preferences as I thought I should. I still liked the books I read at night a lot more than the books I read for my classes." --
Janice A. Radway, in her thoroughly engaging history and cultural analysis of the Book-of-the-Month Club,
A Feeling for Books.

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