Category Archives: Franzen (Jonathan)

The President Is Reading Novels? Good!

Rightwing attacks on Obama for including novels in his summer reading are all wrong. We want our presidents to be balanced and grounded, and good fiction helps one remember what is really important in life.

Also posted in Huxley (Aldous), Verghese (Abraham) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Freedom (a.k.a. Irresponsibility)

Jonathan’s Franzen’s “Freedom” is written in the John Cheever-John Updike-Tom Wolfe-Don DeLillo tradition, an up-close look at American middle class culture. But it leaves out some of the heroic struggles that are going on.

Posted in Franzen (Jonathan) | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments


  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

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