For literature, good literature has always been a minority interest.  It’s cultural importance derives not from its success in some sort of ratings war but from its success in telling us things about ourselves that we hear from no other quarter.  And that minority – the minority that is prepared to read and buy good books – has in truth never been larger than it is now.  The problem is to interest it.  What is happening is not so much the death as the bewilderment of the reader.

Salman Rushdie In Defense of the Novel, Yet Again from Step Across This Line

I was having a conversation with my friend Pat, who doesn’t read much, but who is nonetheless imbued with inebriated folk wisdom, he asked me, “what are you doing tonight?”  ” I am going to see (insert any name of any author reading in the Pac-NW) read at Third Place (or Elliot Bay, or Hugo House, or Pilot).” “Dude.” “Yeah.”  “. . . what the hell is a book reading?” “It’s when someone reads from something they’ve written, and you sit in the crowd and listen.  Then it’s usually followed by questions.”  He looked over at me with a dead look in his eye, “No offense dude, but that sounds boring as hell.  It reminds me of being in school.”

“You’re going to sell books, in this economic climate?”  In This Economic Climate.  In This Economic Climate.  In This Economic Climate. Really, it’s often like a Seinfeld skit.