franzen

When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there’s a very real danger that you might end up loving some of them. And who knows what might happen to you then?
—  Jonathan Franzen
When you stay in your room and rage or sneer or shrug your shoulders, as I did for many years, the world and its problems are impossibly daunting. But when you go out and put yourself in real relation to real people, or even just real animals, there’s a very real danger that you might end up loving some of them. And who knows what might happen to you then?
—  Jonathan Franzen, “Pain Won’t Kill You,” from Farther Away: Essays
Quanto odiava e amava la cadenza della sua voce, l'elasticità del suo passo, la serenità del suo amor proprio! Lei riusciva a essere se stessa, e lui no. E capì di essere rovinato, perché lei non gli piaceva ma gli sarebbe mancata disastrosamente.
—  Jonathan Franzen, Le correzioni
Franzen on ebooks and the future of reading

“The Great Gatsby was last updated in 1924. You don’t need it to be refreshed, do you?

"Maybe nobody will care about printed books 50 years from now, but I do. When I read a book, I’m handling a specific object in a specific time and place. The fact that when I take the book off the shelf it still says the same thing - that’s reassuring.

“Someone worked really hard to make the language just right, just the way they wanted it. They were so sure of it that they printed it in ink, on paper. A screen always feels like we could delete that, change that, move it around. So for a literature-crazed person like me, it’s just not permanent enough.”

-Jonathan Franzen in his first-ever press conference.

Good Things About Twitter

One of the most felicitous uses of Twitter is to promote long-form nonfiction by circulating a blurb leading to the full text. Since the practice started, people have shared current long magazine and newspaper pieces and dusted off archival ones. Now organizations like @longform and @longreads and @TheByliner work specifically to find and share excellent pieces that stretch up to three thousand words and beyond. Before Twitter, I was reading half as much extended nonfiction and fiction as I do now on the iPhone or iPad, using apps like Readability and Instapaper.

Two pernicious fallacies embedded in criticism of Twitter—and, by extension, blogs, tumblrs, and GIFs of catbots who kill with laser eyes—are that non-traditional forms of expression can wipe out existing ones, and that these forms are somehow impoverished. The variables unique to the Internet—hyperlinks, GIFs, chat, comments—have enabled new writing voices with their own distinct syntaxes. But we are not dealing with fungible goods—the new forms will never push out older ones because they’re insufficiently similar. You might overdose on unicorn GIFs and go to bed too tired to read “Freedom,” but unicorn GIFs will never replace “Freedom.”

- Sasha Frere-Jones on the good things about Twitter: http://nyr.kr/GG6KH6