This Summer’s Most Popular Library Books and More in Critical Linking

Across the US people are flocking to public libraries to get their hands on Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Paula Hawkins’ novel The Girl on the Train. Those books are the most popular at nine of the 15 city libraries that provided Quartz with their recent circulation rankings for adult books. Both are New York Times Best Sellers.

I love this look at the most popular books at public libraries in the US…though none of the titles are particularly surprising.

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But, really, the purpose of art isn’t to be universally liked, it’s to inspire comment and discussion—and, in this case, to promote literacy and the love of books. And they seem to have the latter part, at least, down cold. I haven’t exactly had a long time to observe these art installations, but one thing I have noticed over the couple of days they’ve been there is that it’s not uncommon at all to notice people seeing them and then stopping to browse the shelves and occasionally taking a book. I hope this doesn’t change as the newness wears off of them.

Whatever happens, it’s certainly going to be interesting to be around the public spaces now. I’ll have to try to visit more of these installations when I can find the time.

I want to take a trip to Indianapolis to see this huge literacy-art initiative. If you’re in the area, check this out (and if you’re not in the area, this piece is good reading anyway).

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Make no mistake: if you’re looking for a feminist text, you can do way, way better than Twilight. That Edward stalks Bella isn’t really up for debate; the way the book fetishizes abstinence is creepy; and Bella’s personality at the start of the novel is simply more vibrant and alive than it is at the end.

But when we look back on the paranormal romance phenomenon, Meyer’s dedication of often 20-plus-page chapters to Bella and Edward’s courtship feels generous. Literally hundreds of pages are dedicated to Bella’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences, a significant portion of which are spent among family and friends, when the book could have been focusing on Edward Cullen’s serious vampire shit. Think about that. Now think about how popular the book became.

One of the best, most thoughtful pieces I’ve read about Twilight in the 10 years since it hit shelves.

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