I read the Jonathan Franzen article in Time today and I must say that I now feel much better about Franzen. I was under the impression he was sort of snobby but that is far from the case. In fact he seems rather humble and unassuming.

The article, if you haven’t read it yet, isn’t a blow you away sort of thing but a pretty standard author profile. I suppose the big deal about it is that it is in Time and Franzen is on the cover. It is not unprecedented but presidents and business executives show up on the cover far more often than writers do so it’s something.

Here’s a paragraph from the article that I thought you all would like:

Reading, in its quietness and sustained concentration, is the opposite of busyness. We are so distracted by and engulfed by the technologies we’ve created, and by the constant barrage of so-called information that comes our way, that more than ever to immerse yourself in an involving book seems socially useful,” Franzen says. “The place of stillness that you have to go to to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.”

We are being socially useful when we read a book. How about that?

The article also talks a little about Franzen’s new book, Freedom, and I am definitely going to have to read it because it is set in St. Paul, Minneapolis’s not as hip and cool twin. The book comes out at the end of the month. I now have to decide, do I buy it or do I wait in line for it at the library? I’m tempted to buy. I can call it a reward for finishing my summer school quarter. Heh.

Time was kind enough to make available online the five novels that have recently inspired Franzen. I like that they are recent inspirations and not an all time sort of list. And it is always interesting to see what well thought of writers read. He made me laugh when he says you can safely skip whole chunks of Philip Roth’s Sabbath’s Theater.

I’ll be drawing a name for a copy of Barnacle Love about this time tomorrow night. Enter the giveaway while you still have a chance.