Going back to literary fiction, it’s almost positioned as this type of pop culture homework, where it’s like, “If I don’t watch this season of Game of Thrones, I can’t have dinner outside with other humans.” And certain books kind of carry that with them. In YA, you do have heavy hitters — I read Turtles All the Way Down like everyone else, as soon as it was available — but a lot of people are just going toward what they’re naturally drawn to and reading things in whatever order feels right to them. It isn’t dictated by SEO. It’s dictated by genuine inquisitiveness.
Let’s be clear here. Straight guys in the global north are not the people objectively suffering most under late capitalism’s slow collapse into chaotic neo-nationalism. They are just the people whose problems have historically been treated as more important. None of these men is about to be deported, or jailed for trying to exercise basic bodily autonomy. The problems these men have are largely ones that actually can be solved by a basic attitude and wardrobe upgrade, and that’s the irony here. Women, queer people, and people of color are the people who are usually told that the problem isn’t the world, it’s us. We are told that we are to blame not only for the wreck of our own lives but also for everyone else’s as well, because we selfishly refused to flatten ourselves for the comfort of others. Men, by contrast, are perennially assured that the world is theirs, to be made over in their image. Or they were, until recently.