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Most people think my bookcase is chaos. I don’t organize my books alphabetically, chronologically, or by genre. But there is a system and to me, it somehow makes sense: I arrange my books according to what authors I think would enjoy each other’s company. Catherine Lacey resides next to Flannery O’Connor. Colson Whitehead next to Sherwood Anderson. Ann Beattie next to F. Scott Fitzgerald. In this unconventional and somewhat bizarre arrangement, living authors rub elbows with the dead. Until recently, I never gave the fact that I read contemporary novels much thought. I always regarded them as inseparable from the rest of literature, some even more compelling than certain classics. It was not until my American Literature professor informed the class that he refused to read contemporary novels that I realized such a literary proclivity even existed. When asked why, he said he’d rather read something that had “stood the…

I was excited to see Boston in the fall — only Boston this fall felt like winter anywhere else: the high 46 degrees, the sky grey and sunless, the people moving quicker than usual to escape the inhospitable outdoors. The construction outside of the Boston Public Library seemed to persist in slow motion against the fast cars and hurrying people in the foreground. An orange banner hung on the corner of the library, rippling in the wind: “Boston Book Festival. Saturday, October 24th. 200 authors. Free admission.” Every fall, Boston turns Copley Square into a haven for readers and writers. Booths of publishers, literary magazines, bookstores and other vendors line the sidewalks. Book characters come to life with the help of elaborate costumes and willing human participants. Various venues all over the city host free literary events. This year’s events ranged from a keynote for children by Louis Sachar, author…

As Joseph Mandarino turned to speak, he tore his eyes away from a glowing Apple Macbook and whirled around on his revolving chair. A stack of old newspapers lay on his table at the entrance of the Health Sciences library, and he furrowed his brows for a couple of seconds. “With hard copies, I do not have to worry about the different types of formats of textbooks that my device might support or the glare of the screen,” Mandarino said as he helped a student access the online research sources.  Ironically, Mandarino–a junior computer science major–thinks that people buy online versions of books because they are easily accessible. “I’ll live, but by no means is it a preference because I like holding the physical paper in my hands,” he said earnestly. In a study conducted by the Pew Research center in 2014 it was revealed that around 41 percent of…