literarylover

Yes, it's a blog about reading.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

The New Yorker - Aug. 8 & 15

(It's the one with the creeping cat on the cover)
I've been telling everyone to read "My Bird Problem" by Jonathan Franzen. He cleverly combines bird-watching, his relationship problems and fears of global warming. I like birds and some of my best friends are bird-watchers, but I do think there's a lot of potential for comedy inherent in the topic. All these somewhat fanatical people creeping about with their special binoculars and life lists; it would make a good set-up for a murder mystery. Anyway, Franzen's bird problem becomes evident to him when he realizes that he has to care about global warming because now he cares about birds.

I loved his novel, The Corrections. I was sorry about the backlash that was engendered by his comment that he didn't really want his book chosen as one of Oprah's book club. As I recall, he wrote a rather funny article about that situation, too.

In the same issue, I really liked Louis Menand's article on Edmund Wilson, especially at the end when he summarizes Wilson's career as "devoted to the principle that an educated, intelligent person can take on any subject that seems interesting and important, and, by doing the homework and taking care with the exposition, make it interesting and important to other people." This reminds me of some of the writers about whom I am reading in "The New, New Journalists."

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