Eyebrows were raised a few weeks ago when a series of full-page ads appeared in the New York Times Book Review, Publishers Weekly and elsewhere in the US literary press, asking “Who will save our books? Our bookstores? Our libraries?” Thirty-eight great American books, fiction and non-fiction, were cited as examples of work that might have been lost without vibrant publishing and bookselling industries and cultures: from William Faulkner to Junot Díaz; Norman Mailer to Joan Didion; Thomas Pynchon to Art Spiegelman. The ad concluded by comparing the federal bailouts of the banking and car sectors to the neglect of books. Striking stuff, but it was not so much the sentiments expressed that caused surprise, as the signature at the bottom of the man who had paid for and written them: James Patterson.