Thursday, September 10, 2009
Hazards of Travel
I was reading How to Be Alone, Jonathan Franzen's book of essays while on the plane back from NM. I was right in the middle of his essay about fiction that he got a lot of flack for (what hasn't he?). Yes, he's a bit cranky, but he's smart and I like his writing. I ganked this photo from someone's blog who didn't like the book, saying if you're going to write about yourself you should at least be funny. Wow, does that miss the point. He's certainly self-interested, but he's using that as a jumping-off point to talk about culture. It's not a memoir.
Anyhow, I had just read a fascinating paragraph about the research he cites of a woman who asked people about reading habits. She said there are those who read as children, and who find other readers to bond with; there are those readers whose parents are readers and who are encouraged to read. Franzen said to her that he didn't have parents who read, but he did. So she responded that there was another type--social isolates--that as children were isolated and built their primary world with books. Those kids, as he says he felt he was, no matter how social as adults, at some point are strongly drawn back to their original sense of community, which is essentially to commune with an imaginary world that is constructed through reading. He's much more articulate, and I even wanted to copy the paragraph, since I related as well.
But then I left it in the pouch of the seat in front of me and got off the plane.
The hazards of travel.