Let me continue to circle the fiction issue a bit by answering a very good question asked of me by Sam Friedman, head of the Columbia U. Grad School’s class for non-fiction writing. I made a statement to the students this week that non-fiction book sales are strong now, as people look for fact and explanation. Sam asked if whether the 24 hour news channels didn’t fill that purpose. I responded that they may only fuel the desire for more information, as the news draws us in to the issues but doesn’t go into depth. Google lets us research in bites, but the full meal is missing. Sync this all up with the urgent worries of the day, and we all want to know more about Iraq, global warming, Freakonomics and anything Tom Friedman has to say. At the same time, we are eager to go back (escape?) to the time of Lincoln and Washington. I have found this need in my reading, too, and I find myself drawn to books about oysters, silk, and the six beverages that changed the world.
To be continued.