Book Culture and Pop Culture

Feeling dazed after an eventful day last week, I stumbled home and switched on my television. I’d just won an extremely grand book prize, and wanted — pathetically — to see whether one of those electronic tickers might be running the news. An advertisement came on the screen. A girl was reading. She seemed fidgety, disgruntled. She looked up and said, “This book is so boring.” A voice came on and said something like: “Feeling really bored? Then watch TV!” The face of a celebrity I didn’t recognize appeared, followed by the opening credits of a show I’d never seen.

Anne Applebaum talks about books, the need to make a living, the mysterious mid-list writer, and the widening gap between popular culture and high culture.