A Jessa Crispin article now making the rounds and riffing on a David Milofsky piece kvetches about “the traditional book tour,” which is presumably defined as an author giving a series of readings across the nation in front of a crowd. But while I certainly advocate any literary event that involves liquor or strange poets braying into a mike, I think Jessa misconstrues Milofsky’s larger point, which is that the languor one associates with an author appearance might be better dispensed with by literary enthusiasts frequenting their local bookstore readings or paying attention to the listings in the newspapers.
However appealing a reading series might be, it still involves a certain social Darwinism: the reading series organizer invites writers who are hip or in or otherwise down with it. But what of the authors who don’t fit into a “Progressive Reading” agenda? Or who aren’t telegenic or charismatic enough to appeal to an 18-34 demographic? Does this not cheapen or detract from the books that the authors have written?