I love reading fiction. Trouble is, I just don’t have that much time to read. I squeak in a bit each day but I am too embarrassed to admit how many pages (paragraphs?) I manage before I fall asleep. I am reading Roberto Bolano’s 2666. It is 893 pages long. Ask me in 2016 if I am still reading it. That’s why I am none too shocked to hear the French culture minister, Fleur Pellerin, admit she hasn’t read a novel in two years. According to the NYTimes,
"As France was celebrating its latest Nobel laureate, Patrick Modiano, the nation’s minister of culture, Fleur Pellerin, shocked the nation’s literati by admitting in a television interview this week that she had not read his novels or any others for the last two years."
Dear France, What Book Should I Read Next?
What a perfect circumstance for Fleur Pellerin to launch a crowdsourcing project to select the next book she will read. By letting the French people nominate books and then have them vote to move them up the reading list, Fleur Pellerin could remedy the problem – the Culture Minister must read French books to represent – and engage the country in a lively book-loving debate.
The list could become cultural homework for foreign students visiting France. It would elevate French authors in the world’s eyes as the crowdsourcing would happen on this lovely international Web we find ourselves on today. It might even jazz up the culture ministry's Web site which interestingly won't tranlsate via Google translate.
This is such a forgiving and positive idea. It doesn’t come close to the ‘just asking for trouble’ that Walter Isaacson will go through asking “the Internet” to edit his next book. Certainly more meaningful than Buzzfeed’s What Book Should You Start Reading Next? Roulette.
In all fairness, Fleur may not end up with the read that is right for her as she would if she used the personalization filters of Which Book. But as culture minister, she must represent. The biggest risk in the whole crowdsource-the-next-book-she-reads is that the French-speaking Twittersphere will point her towards de Sade's The Misfortune of Virtues vs. Patrick Modiano’s Missing Person.
Seize the opportunity!
thanks to the Winnipeg Free Press for the beautiful picture.