Superfluous Matter
Books - Jonathan Franzen

I just finished up two books by Jonathan Franzen ('Freedom' and 'How To Be Alone') and I read a third ('The Corrections') just before I started to blog about my reading. All three were great. Both 'Freedom' and 'The Corrections' follow the lives of the members of a dysfunctional mid-western American family while 'How To Be Alone' is a collection of essays.

Franzen is known to be disdainful of many of the advances in technology that have occurred in the last fifty years and that certainly comes through in his writing. From my point of view it's easy to brand him a luddite, but reading his work does make one try consider the net benefit of all the miraculous stuff we now have. The timing of my reading lined up nicely with my recent experiment in 24 hours of disconnection. Not that I'll be changing anything since my job depends on all this technology, but I think I will at least try to be more mindful of it all.

The two novels were great stories and by the end of each I loved all the characters (some take a while to warm up to). The essays were neat too because a lot of them reflect on the act of reading itself (reading fiction/literature in particular). He struck a lot of familiar chords when discussing growing up as a child who reads and then trying to remain a reader as an adult. Really fun stuff.

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