Staggering Genius?

You sell a few books, open a series of urban reading centers, get a great write up from the New York Times about your most recent novel, and the world seems your oyster. You could go the world tour route or partner with Hollywood to turn your recollections into ticket stubs. Or you could stay in Northern California, take a page from Al Gore’s book and start a series of slideshow presentations/explanations, and find yourself at local bookstores with a revolutionary bent.

Seeing Dave Eggers this week at a reading with other 20-somethings who’d gotten Flavorpill send-a-friend messages about the event ended up being a bit of a disappointment. I admire much of what he’s done: created a drama/comedy hit of a first novel, raised awareness about Sudanese conflicts, and created the $8/issue-worthy Believer magazine. His book “What is the What,” a story about Sundanese refugee Valentino Achak Deng, has great imagery and is well-told. The problem with the presentation was the lack of interesting questions people had for him. The inquiry about why Americans don’t hear about “Lost Girl” refugees was a good one, but wasting 200 people’s time asking whether Eggers thought Sudan was hot on his last visit was a shame. Information on the current Sudanese state of affairs isn’t hard to come by (especially with a recent BART station domination beautifully done by the Save Darfur coalition), so please do your homework, SF.

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