introduCtion
Digital Books, Beach Chairs,
and Popular Literary Culture
This book about the changes that have occurred in literary culture in the
United States within the past decade began with cup of coffee and a vacant
stare in a strip mall store in Mishawaka, Indiana. The coffee was a Starbucks
latte and the store was Barnes & Noble, where I sat with my daughters as
they downed their Italian sodas and argued about which Harry Potter movie
was really the best. Already all too familiar with this particular debate, I
stared off into space, first at the façade of the Outback Steakhouse across
the parking lot, and then upward, where I encountered another café scene
in the mural that wrapped around us along the ceiling.
The mural presented a tableau of Great Authors—Henry James, Virginia
Woolf, Jane Austen, Edith Wharton, and company—all seated at adjacent
1. Authors Mural, Barnes & Noble store, Mishawaka, Indiana, 2008
Previous Page Next Page