Air Quotes When highlights make history.

Air Quotes When highlights make history.

  • Words Katie Calautti
  • Photograph Vicki Liang

It is a truth universally acknowledged that inherent quotability keeps a novel alive in the public consciousness. But the nature of how we read has changed, as has the notoriety to which we assign quotations.

Historically, a quality literary quote contains elements of inspiration (“To thine own self be true”), advice (“It is nothing to die; it is dreadful not to live”), timelessness (“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”), or a level of deeper meaning that underscores the readers’ intelligence (“Time moves slowly, but passes quickly”). 

These esteemed turns of phrase were historically cherry-picked by critics and adopted into the culture over a span of many years. But the rise of e-book readers over the last decade has placed the lightning-fast ability ...

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