How to Be Alone: Essays
Registered by tabby-cat-owner of Bellingham, Washington USA on 1/25/2008
2 journalers for this copy...
This book contains essays which center around the themes of the erosion of civil life and private dignity and the hidden persistence of loneliness in postmodern America.
This is a situation where the title of the book captured me. My expectations or hopes for this book were quite different from what the book turned out to be. I did continue to read the book (minus one essay). Most of the essays were written in 2001 or before that. Given all that has happened in the last twenty years, and particularly during the past year, some of the essays were dated and not pertinent. Three of the essays were historical in nature, and I found them mildly interesting. They were on the topics of the tobacco industry, the post office and the prison system. I found the autobiographical essays more interesting in which Jonathan Franzen shared stories of his life. In particular, I found the first essay interesting in which Franzen writes about his father dying of Alzheimer's Disease . I am not familiar with the books that Jonathan Franzen has written. Several of the essays in the book are about the significance of the novel in American culture. He feels that a novel should focus on what is wrong with America and that it should somehow make a difference. He does at times acknowledge that this is too specific and too high a goal. One of his essays focuses on the books written by William Gaddis, and they truly sound like awful books. In fact, Jonathan Franzen does not even like the books that much as they are very difficult to read. The title of the book comes from a quote that Franzen makes about the activity of reading books. "The first lesson reading teaches is how to be alone." I have always been a great reader, and I must admit being alone is something I don't need to learn. The essays in which Franzen attempts to analyze American society were somewhat confusing to me. In writing about the internet, Franzen totally misses how pervasive and influential the internet will be. He does cite a few interesting quotes by other writers. This book really did make me think, so I think that that is a good thing.
Journal Entry 3 by tabby-cat-owner at to a fellow bookcrosser, By Mail/Post/Courier -- Controlled Releases on Saturday, April 17, 2021
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
This book has been mailed to ciloma of Idaho because she had it on her wishlist.
2021-04-20 => Arrived safely today. Thanx a bunch!