Young Editors in New York

“Every young editor in New York, Schiller had often thought, has the same library. All the books on their shelves are glossy hardcovers. There’s nothing wrong with their books: they’ve got Updike and Carver and Roth, Atwood and Drabble and Munro, Rushdie and Amis and Barnes: the cream of the last three generations. But that’s all they’ve got. The most ancient writer on their shelves is F. Scott Fitzgerald; or if they have anything older than that, it’s because they’ve mooched free copies of the new Library of America series, so they have James and Melville in those enormous tomes—two or three novels per volume—that are so unwieldy they can only be displayed, not read. What appalled Schiller about these libraries was that they featured nothing off the beaten track: no tattered paperbacks; no evidence of distinctive personal interests; no tokens of long intellectual detours passionately explored. If under cover of night you switched the libraries of any two young editors in New York, neither of them would notice.”

From Brian Morton’s Starting Out in the Evening

One response to “Young Editors in New York

  1. That’s a fine observation. I’ve seen those bookshelves, with a few books from college here and there.


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