new feature for the book under her bed: reader’s diary
can you be friends with someone who reads dickens?
I mean, what if your best friend loves Dickens and James and two-inch-thick biographies of Matisse and Robert Oppenheimer? And you read contemporary short stories and have an embarrassing passion for Alice Munro?
What if your other best friend reads the intellectual giants, and you’ve never managed to get through a single Philip Roth (except Goodbye, Columbus, which doesn’t count), never read Pat Barker or J.M. Coetzee or Borges?
And what if your other best friend loves Gary Shteyngart and George Saunders and other snappy with-it contemporary authors who make you feel old?
What if your other other best friend reads history and archaeology and books about Europe and Africa and Asia, and you’re rereading Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies for the third time?
What if your other other other best friend has been reading poetry for so long that you’ll never catch up to her, and all you can do is trot along behind reading the poetry she tells you to read?
What if your two best guy-pals are voracious consumers of contemporary nonfiction and love David Sedaris, and you aren’t and don’t? Can you still be friends?
Yes, you can. For quite a long time I thought I couldn’t be friends with anyone who hadn’t read Willa Cather’s The Professor’s House and didn’t agree with me that Death Comes for the Archbishop is the Great American Novel. I got over it; I’d rather have friends.