To Cull or to Surrender

“The vast majority of the world’s books, music, films, television and art, you will never see. It’s just numbers.” This is the message of this essay about the futility of trying to read — or watch or listen to — all the books, films, music and so forth that a “well-read” person ought. “You used to have a limited number of reasonably practical choices presented to you, based on what bookstores carried, what your local newspaper reviewed, or what you heard on the radio, or what was taught in college by a particular English department. . . . Now, everything gets dropped into our laps, and there are really only two responses if you want to feel like you’re well-read, or well-versed in music, or whatever the case may be: culling and surrender.”

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