A case for conversation
While I agree with you both on your conclusion and the reasoning, I think that often an author thinks that the audience is there for the book. I have a question, Was it a hard decision for you, on your book tour, not to read your book and did you solicit input from anyone connected with your tour, bookstores, publishers, etc?
I’m a big fan of mysteries, so have attended a lot of events at the Mysterious Bookshop. I cannot recall one event where the author read his/her book. One of the staffers is an excellent interviewer, so he’s been called upon several times - once interviewing two notable Brit authors at the same time, skillfully drawing astute comparisons and differences between their respective works. Other times, the author is merely introduced, discusses the book, what the author sought to achieve, and if it’s a continuing character, what the plot portends for his/her development. Of course, there’s always Q&A, which is always interesting to all. Wine is served which lubricates the conversation.
1. I generally agree with you. However, if a writer gets many invitations to speak, he can develop a canned talk whose delivery he can polish and make interesting in and of itself. Cf. Robert Caro.
2. Bellow vs. Roth: subject of upcoming column ?? Which book of each should one read first?
I totally agree with you. No matter how well they read, I’d rather hear an author chat, take questions and discuss the work. I love audiobooks, but if I’m seeing someone in person I’d much rather hear what they have to say off script.
Everything has to be a spectacle these days. Writers also now have to perform.