David Foster Wallace on publicity tours

And so we meet again, David. His last book before his untimely death, The Pale King, was released this week. I haven’t read any DFW since finishing Infinite Jest about a year and a half ago, but yes, I’ll be reading The Pale King shortly.

Not sure how I feel about the stupid questions comment. I’ve attended a lot of readings, and yes, there are times when I’ve rolled my eyes and thought, “SERIOUSLY?!” at some of the questions posed by the audience (when I saw Jonathan Franzen in Austin last year, someone asked about Oprah, and the audience collectively groaned). And yes, getting to see the author’s mannerisms and hear how they read their work is part of the reason people attend. There’s a certain element of celebrity involved, and I’m sure several people show up because of that. I’ve met those people while waiting in line to get my books signed.

More often than not, though, people are there because they are true fans of the author’s work and are genuinely excited about the authors and their books. Personally, I wouldn’t drop $30 on a book just so I could hear an author and get their signature–these days, it’s not too hard to get a hold of signed books. No…when I do spend that kind of money, time, and effort, it’s because I look forward to further engaging with an author and a text I love.

What do you think?

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