Whenever someone comes into the store asking for help selecting a gift for their 12-year-old nephew or their 80-year-old aunt whom they haven't seen for a long time, I always ask them for more information. Does the boy like vampire stories, does the aunt like family sagas? It's a bit different, though, when I give a gift to someone. It usually means that I have liked the book and I hope that my friend will also. So it was with quite a bit of trepidation that I decided to give author, journalist, and activist Chris Hedges a novel that I had just finished. I spent a couple of weeks reading Chris's new book, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt because we were hosting a reading with him. While reading Days of Destruction I also read Dave Eggers' new book, A Hologram for the King. It was an elegant portrayal of a middle-aged man caught in the destruction of the American manufacturing industry. Although Chris's book focused on the lives of the most marginalized, Eggers's enlivened the disintegration of the middle class. I wrote in my card to Chris that I wasn't sure if he even read fiction, but if he didn't he could pass it on to someone who did. He was very sweet when he accepted the book, but he is a very polite man and I thought that I would never really know whether he liked it or not. A few days later I received an email from Chris thanking me for the book. "I thought he nailed it. Quite powerful." Needless to say I was thrilled, and can now say when selling A Hologram for the King that Chris Hedges highly recommends it also!
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