Midnight Madness for Inherent Vice: A Small But Potentially Meaningful Success Story


A well-known writer privately lamented to me recently that no one reads anymore—that, statistically speaking, literature is dying. I tend to be a Pollyanna, so I stammered, “That’s not true!” and vowed to return with a more mature argument soon.

Last night my research led me and comedian Pete Giovine—who generously provided his services at a very discounted rate in the name of narratives—east to Skylight Books in Los Feliz for the midnight release of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice, the latest novel from the famously reclusive author, this time set in L.A.

What we found there—a group of about 25 readers excited to get their hands on the book at the exact first chance, and to enjoy wine and cookies, too—may not signal an immediate shift in industry patterns, but we did learn about Pynchonheads and social networking, which must have some significance for the future of literature, and I count anything that brings people together after midnight on a Monday night alive and marketable. Pete might even buy the book!

Score one for the good guys.