They competed with each other to show off who had read more books. I have 500 books, said one. I have 5000, said another. An entire library, said the third. Have you read Sartre? Marquez? Kafka? Hemingway? What about Baudelaire? Poetry, fiction, science, theology. They quoted from rare books, unheard-of works. It was an intellectual beauty parade. Much like how a lesser man (or woman) would have boasted lovers. The bookworms jostled for the best-read crown. To them it was more important to be seen reading. It didn’t matter what they had learned. Only what they had read.