Targeting a generation that often does not think highly of reading, the Tumblr “Awesome People Reading” re-establishes that it is cool to read. From Michelle Obama to Rosemary Clooney, photographs of celebrities reading at public events or in the comfort of their homes are featured on the Tumblr. Some celebs are shown reading books that fit the context of their situation, for instance, Muhammad Ali with “Psychological Warfare” before a fight and Dean Martin with “The Drinking Man’s Diet” as he sips a cocktail.
Staged photographs purposefully highlight the book’s content in order to reflect the reader’s personality. Marilyn Monroe is seen in different poses with “Ulysses” and “Leaves of Grass,” adding an automatic dimension to her photographed personality because of their associations. The covers of James Joyce or Walt Whitman’s books have built-in characteristics that shed light on their famous readers.
Those photographed with books are certainly affected by the book they have chosen to read, but the books are equally affected by those who have chosen to read them. So, do the subjects in “Awesome People Reading” make reading look hot, or are they more attractive because they are reading?