This paper explores representations of the book and other media in some works by Dickens, Zola and Dos Passos. The aim of the study is to compare the aesthetic function of book and media representations in Dickens’ Little Dorrit, Bleak House and Great Expectations, Zola’s Germinal, Therése Raquin and Nana (or another title in the Rougon-Macquart series) and Dos Passos’ USA-trilogy. Because of the number of works involved, the paper is merely an inventory of occurrences and reflections on them. However, the parameters involved may be of use in constructing a model for further studies, and later comparisons will be made with Scandinavian ”class literatures” in the 1930s, in a wider research project. Firstly, I will interpret the occurrences of reading and the book from a temporal historical perspective, i.e. a sort of chronotopian way of looking at occurrences of reading and of what is read. Secondly, I will examine the differences between the book as a symbol and reading as a motif, or as thematic function, in Dickens and Zola in terms of message and aim (which could possibly be referred to as the perfomative aspect). Thirdly, the significance and symbolic value of the book in Dickens and Zola have been transferred to newsreels and documentary films in Dos Passos’ works. The paper concludes with a discussion of the shift in importance from the book to other media in fiction as exemplified in the three authorships.