Funny, here I go, I’m going to link to the NY Times‘ Style Section, yet again, as it laments the Kindle and the death of literary desire, otherwise known as a crush that one forms on a stranger based off of what book s/he’s toting on Muni:
And as books migrate from paper, it means the death of the pickup line, “Oh, I see you’re reading the latest (insert highbrow author’s name here).”
Michael Silverblatt, host of the weekly public radio show “Bookworm,” uses the term “literary desire” to describe the attraction that comes with seeing a stranger reading your favorite book or author. “When I was a teenager waiting in line for a film showing at the Museum of Modern Art and someone was carrying a book I loved, I would start to have fantasies about being best friends or lovers with that person,” he said.
Back when I was a lit major, I used to have these crushes. But over the years something happened, and I don’t anymore. Perhaps it’s because I’ve met enough people who had the same favorite authors as me, and while it makes for great conversation, it never amounted to any sort of spark. Perhaps it’s because I take it as a given that everyone has read Faulkner and Murakami and haunts Green Apple, so it’s a non-issue. The closest thing that I can think of to a modern equivalent of “literary desire,” is link desire, where a couple of years ago, my friend TT and I were leafing through Yelp, and I thought someone was attractive because he listed this as his second favorite website.
(Addendum: I realized that the “Oh, isn’t Bolano amazing?” pick up line has been replaced with, “Have you seen this app yet for the iPhone? Let me show you.”)