It wasn’t Bruce Springsteen, but you’d hardly have known it from the buzz. Last Saturday afternoon, when New York Times op-ed columnist Paul Krugman stepped to the microphone at the Book Works in Del Mar, the overflow crowd â€“ the largest in the store’s history, according to owner Milane Christiansen â€“ exploded into wild, sustained applause.
This was Krugman’s first appearance in support of his new book, “The Great Unraveling: Losing Our Way in the New Century” (Norton, $25.95), and he seemed taken aback by the intensity of his reception. An economics professor at Princeton in addition to being a twice-a-week opinion slinger, Krugman is unused to rock-star status; as he said in a brief interview before his talk, “I taught Econ 101 all through the Iraq war and the jobless recovery.”
Go read it, as well as this review (written by a former college professor of mine) of Jonathan Lethem’s Fortress of Solitude. Larry McCaffery was the professor who introduced me to Steven Millhauser, Robert Coover, Ursula K LeGuinn, Phillip K. Dick, Max Apple, and Carolyn Forche. Best teacher I ever had.