In the latest edition of the New York Times available online @ http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/10/us/10subway.html , IAN URBINA
, writes about an ad campaign on the Washington DC transit system that pokes fun at not only the high number of high-powered people in the city, but also the idea that because they are high-powered, they think they should be reading "serious" books in order to maintain that veneer of high-powered status.
However, some people didn't see the joke. They thought it wasn't too funny that the idea of someone wearing a suit and reading a "low-brow" novel could be laughed at in comparison to someone reading a "high brow" work like Plato's "republic". They didn't see that all the posing and posturing, when you think of it as posing and posturing is really kind of funny.
This relates to libraries inasmuch as we cater to not only the high-brow, but also the lowbrow, and we do so with equal seriousness. There is no shame in checking out Britney Spears or checking out the 3 Tenors. Both are equal. Yet at the same time, as a library professional I can realize the role that making a selection and being seen with a selection plays in a persons life without shaming that person for allowing that media to play that role. One look at my MP3 player and you will note that there are some selections in there to impress, and others because I genuinely enjoy them. Research amongst my friends, and reading on IPOD useage has shown that I'm not alone in this.
So, good reader - what is your true pleasure, and what do you read simply to impress or to say you've read it so you can talk about it intelligently?