In the men's bathroom, where another man escaped the story, as he bent to splash cold water on his face, he fainted, cracking his head on the sink.
A reporter for Publishers Weekly wrote an article headlined, "Fight Club author knocks them out without a punch".
At Columbia University, the next day, two students fell. As the ambulance took one of them to hospital, my editor walked to the edge of the stage, waved me over, and said: "I think you've done enough damage with this story. Don't finish reading it."
Wow. I've heard of people falling asleep at book readings, but fainting? Is the guy really that awful a writer? If you've read his stuff, please report in.
Now if we can all stop laughing (and fainting) for a minute, I have a serious question about another matter. This is from The Star:
As the book world winds up its annual national convention, some retailers are wondering about the fate of a cultural institution. It's not a book or a publisher, but a customer - the old-fashioned bookstore browser who picks and pokes and doesn't care about the critics or Oprah or the best-seller charts.
"I think people are less likely to just look around than they were five years ago,'' says Margaret Maupin, a buyer for The Tattered Cover in Denver.
"And they're more impatient about getting a book. They come in and ask for it and if you don't have it they go somewhere else.''
I think people are still browsing; they're just doing it differently from the way they used to. Take a look at that last paragraph in the quote. If people are going into stores asking for specific books, they've heard about them somewhere. So maybe they have been browsing . . . on the internet. Or maybe even at the grocery store.
How and where do you browse? Have your browsing habits changed in the past few years?