When Cheap, Angry Trends Have Died Out, The Classics Will Remain

When Cheap, Angry Trends Have Died Out, The Classics Will Remain


We were excited to see the sign at the Lansing Mall: Barnes and Noble Booksellers. My roommate and I, on our spring break excursions, were shopping in another city when we spotted the national bookselling chain. We envisioned a long hour of perusing the great books — from Cicero to Tolstoy, Shakespeare to Dickens, Plato to Faulkner. My roommate joked she never made it out of a bookstore without purchasing at least one volume.

After walking through a maze of board games, Harry Potter paraphernalia, and $10 romance novels, we found the classics “section” — a barely 10-foot-wide corner where “Hamlet” was shoved up beside “The Catcher in the Rye” in an uneven pile. For all that the store owners and its patrons cared, the sign at the top could have read: “Old Stuff.”

Perhaps booksellers who neglect the classics are merely responding to market demands. Who wants to read those old white guys, anyway? Maybe no one does

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