Daybook

The Lost Value of a Reader’s Time

James Frey, author of the faux memoir, A Million Little Pieces, is evidently facing a few lawsuits. They’re not being brought by his publisher, or by bookstores –the piles of money no doubt help to heal the embarrassment and shame. Instead, these suits are being brought by readers, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The plaintiffs are seeking recompense for, among other things, "the lost value of a reader’s time". I find this a most fascinating wrinkle. If I believe that something is true, and it isn’t, is my time the most important thing I’ve lost? Do readers have the right to expect a book to provide them a good return on their investment in time? If so, why haven’t more readers sued the authors of boring, vapid or silly books? I mean, every book jacket promises that the book inside is thrilling and worthy of the space it takes up on the book shelf. Is this false advertising, or just acceptable hyperbole?

Are you, blog reader, bored right now? Should I worry about lawsuits raining down around my shoulders some day soon?

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