Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Finally Free From Freedom

Why My Reading Time Is Scattered
Photo by Amy Brandon

"All the real things, the authentic things, the honest things are dying off.  Intellectually and culturally, we just bounce around like random billiard balls, reacting to the latest random stimuli."
 Walter Berglund in Jonathan Franzen's Freedom

After two months of back and forth reading, I finally finished Freedom by Jonathan Franzen.   I struggle with books like these because it seems like I spend most of my life needing an escape from reality, rather than an inundation of it. I'm not arguing the brillance of Jonathan Franzen, but I'm not sure passively and reactively shedding light on the ills of our society is necessarily the most productive way to improve it.  Almost every aspect of this book microscopically picks apart the general malaise and some of the more specific sicknesses of the modern American family.  If you're looking for an escape hatch in your reading, don't pick up this one. 

Last week, I attempted to read Swamplandia by Karen Russell.  It became one of the few books I did not finish.  I could find no redeeming qualities to compel me to waste any more time that a few days on it. 

This week, I've started Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed and The Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner.  We'll see if I have any better luck with these.

How to Save a Life, One Day at a Time

photo by Amy Brandon   "Little things heal our hurts. Sounds, scents, the spoken word, and music that may mean nothing to someon...