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Gary Shteyngart Imagines eBook Dystopia

absurd.pngIn his New Yorker story this week, “Lenny Hearts Eunice,” comic novelist Gary Shteyngart imagines a world where digital books have replaced print books and teenagers hate the smell of moldy text.

Here’s an excerpt from one character’s blog, in the short story: “What kind of freaked me out was that I saw Len read a book. (No, it didn’t smell. He uses Pine-Sol on them.) He came home from work looking really down, and I guess he didn’t even notice that I caught him reading. And I don’t mean scanning a text like we did in EuroTrash Classics with that ‘Chatterhouse of Parma,’ I mean seriously reading. … I sneaked a peek and it was that Russian guy Tolesoy he was reading (I guess it figures, cause Lenny’s parents are from Russia). I thought Ben was really brain-smart because I saw him streaming ‘Chronicles of Narnia’ in that cafe in Rome, but this Tolesoy was a thousand-page-long book, not a stream, and Lenny was on page 930, almost finished.”

Do you believe this kind of illiterate society is part of our digital future?

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