“Steal this book,” wrote Abbie Hoffman in 1970. So, today, why should we pay for our books – especially in a digital age where intellectual theft is both ubiquitous and pretty much risk free?
According to Gary Shteyngart, the best-selling author of novels like “Super Sad True Love Story” and “Absurdistan,” paying for his books means that he doesn’t have to work at a gas station or a car dealership. When we pay for one of his books, Shteyngart explained when we spoke earlier this week, it “allows me to produce more work.” Buying a book, he insists, represents an investment in creativity.
And creativity – real creativity – may be at a premium today – at least according to Shteyngart. As he argues, the Internet may be killing our eccentricity and transforming all of us into 140-character conformists. Thus, in today’s networked age, he says, there is an acute need for writers who can grab our attention and drag us away from broadcasting our boring selves on Facebook and Twitter.
This is the second in a two-part interview with Shteyngart. Yesterday, he explained why, in the not-too-distant future, everyone will know everything about everybody.
Don’t steal this book
How to get to William Gibson land
Have words lost their power?
Gary Shteyngart was born in Leningrad in 1972 and came to the United States seven years later. His debut novel, The Russian Debutanteâ€™s Handbook, won the Stephen Crane Award for First Fiction and the National Jewish Book Award for Fiction. His second novel, Absurdistan, was named one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review, as well as a best book of the year by Time, The Washington Post Book World, the...