Thank You For Not Reading by Dubravka Ugresic, published in 2001, is an astonishing book. It drives me crazy that it is not popular, but it provides the reasons why and it is just sad.
If you are surprised by the bestsellers in bookstores from the most boutique to the biggest, then this book is for you. “God, why is this book printed at the very beginning? Why do people read them? What happened to us? Don’t we have better options?” If these and similar questions have passed through your head while browsing the bestsellers, you have to read this. It not only explains the reasons very nicely but also offers a lot more.
It is also a pleasure to read Dubravka Ugresic’s criticism. She writes so intricately that it is impossible not to admire her intelligence. When I read the duties of the readers and the authors through her eyes, I was enlightened. The author will make you laugh, and on the other hand, she will make you feel stupid by mercilessly showing you what we have done. She indicates that with this book, she has entered the blacklist of publishers. That is how powerful her words are! So we must read her books and give her a louder and braver voice.
After reading this incredible book, you will look at printed books, interviews by authors, and their photos with entirely different eyes. Whatever you do, be sure to read this book! Enjoy!
Thank You for Not Reading
In this collection of acerbic essays, Ugresic dissects the nature of the contemporary book industry, which she argues is so infected with the need to create and promote literature that will appeal to the masses–literally to everyone–that if Thomas Mann were writing nowadays, his books wouldn’t even be published in the U.S. because they’re not sexy enough. A playful and biting critique, Ugresic’s essays hit on all of the major aspects of publishing: agents, subagents, and scouts, supermarket-like bookstores, Joan Collins, book fairs that have little to do with books, authors promoted because of sex appeal instead of merit, and editors trying to look like writers by having their photograph taken against a background of bookshelves. Thanks to cultural influences such as Oprah, “The Today Show,” and Kelly Ripa, best-seller lists have become just a modern form of socialist realism, a manifestation of a society that generally ignores literature in favor of the next big thing.
Dubravka Ugrešić is a Yugoslav writer. A graduate of University of Zagreb, she has been based in Amsterdam since 1996.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: