No, I’m not reading Freedom again.
As you read this, I am probably in my car making the 5-6 hour drive (fine, I speed; it’s 5) up to Austin to see Jonathan Franzen at Book People. I know, I know…
Although I try to keep my stalker tendencies limited to Rufus Wainwright, I have to make an exception here. I have met pretty much all of my favorite living authors except Franzen and Sherman Alexie (who, my friend informed me, was rather full of himself at the reading she attended). Seeing as how I no longer live in New York–and, as such, no longer have instant access to all those fabulous book readings at the Union Square Barnes & Noble–I figure it’s now or never with Franzen (unless, you know, Oprah wants me to invite me to her book club dinner).
To make myself sound less fanatical, I’ve been telling people that I’m also going to be visiting my former roommate from undergrad. And I am. I know we’ll have a blast hitting up the Alamo Drafthouse and pigging out at all those great Austin eateries. The alcohol will flow. We’ll celebrate her birthday. I was too poor to make the trip up there last month so we could go see The New Pornographers together, and I’ve been dying to see her ever since.
But let’s be real here: This is about Franzen. (Sorry Mariah…you know I love you!)
I know I’ve raised a few eyebrows over the past few years (even with my non-bookish friends) with this whole Franzen thing. I can be completely honest here when I say that I discovered his writing back before I was aware of his status as Great American Novelist, and before I was aware that The Corrections was being called Greatest Contemporary Novel Ever. Seriously, my first reading of The Corrections was relatively hype-free (especially since I don’t really read reviews unless I’ve already read the book or seen the movie). Ignorance is bliss.