A book commits suicide every time you watch 'Jersey Shore': Do you read high-brow, watch low? | EW.com

Books | Shelf Life

A book commits suicide every time you watch 'Jersey Shore': Do you read high-brow, watch low?

What you need is a bookend! Random House, Inc. posted this funny picture and axiom on its Facebook page. If you look closely, you can see what appears to be To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and an unidentified book plunging to their deaths because they refuse to exist in a world in which Jersey Shore is being watched. The photo is obviously a joke, but I refuse to believe you can’t read smart books while enjoying trash reality TV. In fact, many of the smartest people I know do both – something about being capable of holding two opposing ideas in mind at the same time.

I read To The Lighthouse this year, and while I can’t say I found it wildly entertaining, I stuck with it and felt like a better person for having finished it. Then I binged on the first season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills

, but I didn’t feel less intelligent. In fact, I thought Woolf and the Housewives have a common thread: They both realize that a offhand comment at a dinner party can have enormous, persistent consequences. Reality stars are totally literary. Not really – after all, this happened, and it’s not something I can get behind.

So Shelf Lifers, tell us – do you read quality books and also watch junk (or vice-versa)? Share some of your high-brow and lowest-of-the-low pairings!

Follow Stephan on Twitter: @stepephan

Originally posted September 21 2011 — 11:42 AM EDT

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