Viral Reading

More than two million YouTube viewers have watched this woman read a book. Imagine that.

The woman is Stoya, and she’s a porn star. The book is Necrophilia Variations, described by its author as “a literary monograph on the erotic attraction to corpses and death.” Nothing in the video is pornographic, not even the excerpt she reads.

The video went up on Aug. 1. Within days it had gone viral. The author — he goes by the name Supervert, and he’s a friend of mine — messaged on Aug. 4 that the video was “getting a bunch of play on Twitter.” It had over 50,000 views on YouTube. “Funny thing,” he added, “is that, to me, this is better than a front page review in the NY Times. I’m thrilled.” A few days later the number skyrocketed to 1.2 million. Supervert messaged again. “I’ve never had a better creative thrill in my life.” But he was not talking about the numbers. He was talking about the video itself.

What makes it so fascinating? Here’s what Stoya thinks. And here’s what Supervert thinks.

Stoya shows the cover of Necrophilia Variations.

Stoya reads from Necrophilia Variations.

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