Dana Gioia

Last week, while you and I were at our desks working, the cool kids were in Aspen at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which continues through tomorrow. There’s nothing I enjoy more than sitting around brainstorming with creative folks, so I was glad to at least have fly-on-the-wall access to the festival through the videos and other materials posted on its website.

For sixty years, the festival “has been the nation's premier gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines to engage in deep and inquisitive discussion of the ideas and issues that both shape our lives and challenge our times.” It covers world politics, the environment, technology, science, health, education, the economy, arts, and society—something for everyone.

For the first time in more than 25 years, American adults are reading more literature, according to the National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) 2008 Survey of Public Participation in the Arts. For the first time in the history of the survey, which has been conducted five times since 1982, the overall rate at which adults read literature—including novels, short stories, plays and poems—increased, rising seven percent since 2002.

Some interviews stick out in an editor’s memory long after the story has been sent to press. My interview with Dominique Raccah, president and CEO of Sourcebooks, will be one of those (page 33). Her energy and enthusiasm leaves little question as to how she built a multimillion-dollar business, and why her books continue to see double-digit sell-through increases. But she did leave me with another question: With the primary book-reading audience (baby boomers) aging, what will happen when that audience is gone? A year and a half ago, the National Endowment for the Arts released the results of a survey called “Reading at

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