How to Be Alone

How to Be Alone

author: Jonathan Franzen

name: Steev

average rating: 3.60

book published: 2002

rating: 5

read at: 2013/10/20

date added: 2013/10/21

shelves: spirit-self, own-it, art

A variety of essays from the mid-90s up through 2002, some of these are kind of too outdated to be of very much use, but others are timeless, and of those many ring eerily and still painfully true even though Franzen was talking about an earlier, less extreme version of an issue we're still facing today (the plight of the publishing industry, the dismal state of literature and reading, the polarization of politics, to name a few). All in all these non-fiction pieces create a picture of a writer and a person who is just as skilled as in his fiction with depicting a personality afflicted with depression, anger, conflicting and contradictory feelings, sadness and grief, and frustration with current trends and establishments. In other words, this book not only teaches how to be alone, but also shows me that I'm not, in that I share a lot of the above with him and the interior of my head as I think about those things looks a lot like the picture he's painted of himself. And this is one of the best functions of literature, whether fiction or non, that anyone could hope for.