March 26, 2019

Book reading models are lit


Last week, infamous tabloid newspaper the New York Post ran a story written in their typical snarky voice, this time focused on models and sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid, and how they are singlehandedly responsible for turning books into the “hot new accessory of 2019.” Raquel Laneri reports on how Bella and Gigi have recently photographed carrying Stephen King’s The Outsiders and Albert Camus’ The Stranger, respectively; Bella also Instagrammed a picture of her current read, a not uncommon practice that people do every single day.

Laneri writes: “[The] supermodel siblings have both been recently photographed carrying books. Books! You know, those antiquated, analog vessels of information usually associated with smart people, like Emma Watson.” A real two for one here, Laneri manages to insult both the Hadid sisters and books.

I could write an entire paragraph here about how silly it is that it’s “news” that two young women have been spotted carrying books, but we already know that. It’s 2019, we lived through the years when we got updates every time Britney Spears picked up Starbucks; this is the actual world that we live in. But if we are going to live in a world where the reading habits of our supermodels are newsworthy, then lets at least report on it without the condescension and surprise that a woman can be both attractive and literate. After all, it is 2019.

But what’s also inducing a collective eye-roll across the internet is the idea that books are “hot,” “new,” and “accessories.” We all know books have been around for a few years now. They don’t seem to be going anywhere. Fashions come and fashions go; to designate books as a hot new trend is to set an expiration date on how long they are going to be in style—trends wear themselves out (see: trucker hats, shoulder pads, velour sweatsuits) and after reaching saturation, are no longer in fashion. If you must compare books to fashion, the only logical analogy would be a little black dress—classic, timeless, and always in style.

The Post also writes that the sisters are matching their books to their outfits. In the vernacular of many funny people on Twitter, “B*tch, where?” The tweet accompanying the Post’s article shows each sister wearing a matching blazer and slacks combination, holding their current read, which in no way color-coordinates to their outfit. They are just wearing clothes and holding books. This feels like Laneri was pulling at straws in order to meet a word count and padded this non-story with another paragraph.

Scholastic’s Twitter response to the Post’s story may be the best representation of how we all feel about this story:


Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.