Says John Ezard in the Guardian:
Books are the new snobbery, according to a survey today. Social competitiveness about which titles we read has become one of the new mass forces of the era and only middle-aged people are relatively free of it.Okay ...but it might not work here in Malaysia. Who is going to be impressed to see you posing around with the latest prize-winning title as you strap hang on the LRT? I get strange looks all the time when I read in public ...
Driven partly by pressure from incessant literary prize shortlists, more than one in three consumers in London and the south-east admit having bought a book "solely to look intelligent", the YouGov survey says.
It finds one in every eight young people confessing to choosing a book "simply to be seen with the latest shortlisted title". This herd instinct dwindles to affect only one in 20 over-50 year-olds.
"The latest literary pressure is keeping up with the rest of your fellow travellers and commuters. Bookshelf contents are fast becoming as studied and planned as outfits as a way to impress others. Books shortlisted for prestigious literary panel awards are becoming 'de rigueur' reading for many."