Tag Archives: Jonathan Franzen

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Purity Jonathan Franzen‘Purity’ by Jonathan Franzen tells the story of Pip, a college graduate in her 20s living in Oakland, California and deeply in debt who is offered the chance to take an internship with the Sunlight Project in Bolivia led by East German peace activist Andreas Wolf. Pip hopes that working for the Sunlight Project – a Wikileaks-style organisation which traffics secrets – will lead her to some answers about her origins including the identity of her father. Her work eventually takes her to Denver where she meets investigative journalist Tom Aberant who has connections with Andreas and knows his darkest secret. Continue reading


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How to Be Alone by Jonathan Franzen

‘How to Be Alone’ by Jonathan Franzen is an interesting collection of fourteen essays loosely based around the theme of solitude and privacy.  I enjoyed his most recent novel ‘Freedom’ but I definitely struggled with ‘The Corrections’  which I thought would have been much improved with a bit of decent editing.  However, I found Franzen’s non-fiction work to be much more readable in terms of content and also more manageable in terms of length with this collection clocking in at around 300 pages.
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Books That Disappointed Me

I wrote a post a while ago about the books I never finished but I have also read quite a few books I may as well not have finished.  Amongst these, there were some that I had particularly high hopes for yet they turned out to be not what I was expecting at all – and not in a good way.  Here is my list of my biggest literary disappointments:

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I read Love in the Time of Cholera and really enjoyed it so I was looking forward to reading One Hundred Years of Solitude.  But why oh why oh WHY did all the characters have to have almost the exact same names across the generations?!  Not knowing who was who really hindered my enjoyment of the book which was otherwise beautifully written.  I might be willing to try it again someday but only when I have developed supreme powers of concentration and the ability to decipher a Colombian family tree. Continue reading


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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Being British, I know virtually nothing about baseball.  What I do know, I learnt from Charlie Brown in the Peanuts comic strip, meaning that in fact, I probably know even less than I think I do about what is probably the most American of sports.  Happily, as far as I can tell, this did not really hinder my enjoyment of ‘The Art of Fielding’ by Chad Harbach.  It does feature a lot of baseball especially in the first few chapters and some other passages which I admit were kind of lost on me.  But the book as a whole is more about relationships which is something anyone can identify with (baseball fan or not) and the college experience which most people can identify with (American or not). Continue reading

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