I like David Kipen. He’s one of the most enthusiastic and passionate literary people I’ve had the pleasure to meet. But his Salon essay smacks of sour grapes. It’s an absolute mistake to attribute the failure of his Big Read campaign to reader ennui, particularly when you consider the Oprah effect. Or perhaps Kipen was too concerned with his own apocalyptic thinking to consider McCarthy’s apocalyptic novel. [UPDATE: Mr. Kipen has asked me why I feel the Big Read campaign, which I think is a fine idea, has failed. It’s a fair question, and my problem with much of the “print reviews are good for you” and the Big Read campaigns is that it prescribes, rather than invites. The public is quite capable of thinking on their own. So why not invite them with more passion and less doom and gloom?]
Due to the demands of my current schedule, I couldn’t fit the delightful Arthur Phillips into the Segundo lineup (at least not immediately). But thankfully, Mr. Sarvas has taken up the slack.