The Help Desk: The books fell in the stream

Every Friday, Cienna Madrid offers solutions to life’s most vexing literary problems. Do you need a book recommendation to send your worst cousin on her birthday? Is it okay to read erotica on public transit? Cienna can help. Send your questions to

Dear Cienna,

A big-name novelist recently posted on Facebook that he wished people spent more time reading and less time binge-watching TV. Do you think those two things are related, or is he being a huge old grump?

Sunset Hill

Dear Aimee,

It sounds like the kind of thing a smug person would write as a way to subtly confirm the superiority of his own lifestyle, but I wouldn't know for certain because I don't use Facebook. If only people spent more time reading and less time throwing up judgy Facebook posts. Sigh.

There are some really fantastic teevee shows out with compelling narratives and strong character development (Patriot and Dirtbag come to mind). Those are also qualities people treasure in books. Binge watching teevee doesn't have to mean you're not a reader, just as chanting "Bloody Mary" three times in my bathroom mirror doesn't have to mean I'm superstitious. It might also mean I want another drink.