As Walter Mosley declared in his book The Long Fall, “A man’s bookcase will tell you everything you’ll ever need to know about him.” Which makes this recent tweet by writer Jess McHugh even more divisive and fascinating:
First off, it should be noted that this tweet is certainly meant jokingly. After all, how much Hemingway is TOO much Hemingway? And Lolita? If you’ve been keeping up with the article’s I’ve been writing here at Bookstr, you’ll know I’ve written about it a decent amount.
But it could be argued that there is a kernel of truth here, too. With lots of people and students working from home and bookshelves appearing in the backgrounds of their Zoom calls, what sorts of books you are showing to people has become more important. So if you see someone with copious amounts of Hemingway on their shelf, ask yourself if they actually read that much, or if they just want you to THINK they read it.
Of course, people took this tweet in a number of different ways. Some people recognized it for the lighthearted take on book culture that it is, others took offense to it, and others added to it.
What are your thoughts on this list? Are there any other books you think of as “warning signs” when you see them on someone’s bookshelf? Check out our Instagram story for a poll where you can share YOUR opinion on these tweets.
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