Franzen on Turkle.

This review by Jonathan Franzen of Sherry Turkle’s new book is worth reading and re-reading for so many things. Here’s just a snippet: [Turkle’s] new book, “Reclaiming Conversation,” extends her critique, with less ­emphasis on robots and more on the dissatisfaction with technology reported by her recent interview subjects. She takes their dissatisfaction as a hopeful […]

My review of “Purity.”

My review of Jonathan Franzen’s latest novel, Purity, is now online at the Lincoln Journal-Star. An excerpt: There are many brilliant bits of this novel, and Franzen remains one of the country’s most gifted writers. His psychological acuity may be unmatched, at least among living American writers, and he deserves credit for squarely taking on […]

The Karl Kraus Project.

Jonathan Franzen has a new book out out. Dwight Garner doesn’t like it. Or rather, Dwight Garner doesn’t like Franzen’s nonfiction: Whether he’s writing about birding, reading, media, the Internet, the American novel, his past as an angry young man or his present as a misanthrope trying to learn to relax the tendons in his […]

Back to School Struggles.

By sheer happenstance, I received an assignment from L Magazine to write about various  difficulties children with developmental and/or psychological issues face as they are going back to school. I write “happenstance,” because I had just finished Andrew Solomon’s magisterial Far From the Tree: Parents, Children and the Search for Identity only a few days before […]

Corrections in “The Corrections.”

In my recent re-read of Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections, I made it a point to note all of the times “corrections” (or a close derivation) appeared in the text. While, obviously, the book’s title has many implications beyond the reoccurrence of “corrections”—I’m being slightly reductive, since the entire book is imbued with how we try to fix […]

The Madness of The Corrections Coming Through.

Over at The Atlantic, author Benjamin Nugent shares a few insights from a re-reading of The Corrections, and how he thought reading Franzen again would be like revisiting a McCartney tune: I reread The Corrections this year and realized that while I once needed Franzen to be my Paul, an exemplar of old realist virtues like clarity […]

Review of “The World Without You.”

My review of Joshua Henkin’s The World Without You is now live at the Lincoln Journal Star: This is a rare novel: It could have been longer and, probably, better for it. As a traditional realist take on the family, it shares several similar features to Jonathan Franzen’s 2001 masterpiece “The Corrections.” And like Franzen’s, […]

Talking Covers: Freedom.

Now this is a nifty site: Talking Covers has agglomerated the stories of several book covers, most interestingly (to me)  Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom. From the photographer of the cerulean warbler on the cover: The bird on the cover was photographed in a southeastern Ohio state forest, not far from the West Virginia coal fields featured in […]

A short list of big books I have used to kill spiders around my house

The Origins of Political Order, Francis Fukuyama Critical Theory Since 1965, Hazard Adams and Leroy Searle, eds. Nixonland, Rick Perlstein Freedom, Jonathan Franzen We’ve been getting a decent amount of spiders lately. Big, heavy hardbacks do have some uses—it’s not like I was going to swing my iPad at any eight-legged intruders. Update: Another one […]