Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Salon: August 29, 2010

The Sunday

We got a brief taste of fall here in the city this weekend as the temperatures and humidity finally came down for a few days - the Fall is my favorite season but it is sad to realize summer will be over in just one short week. I feel like I have to wring all the summer I can out of this final week!

Fracas over Franzen

Freedom: A Novel The upcoming release of Jonathan Franzen's newest book, Freedom: A Novel, has caused all sorts of buzz but also questions about the literature we value and that which gets the most critical acclaim.  With a glowing NYTBR write up and the cover of Time Magazine, Franzen has been the recipient of high praise of late.  "Everything that goes up must come down" - the backlash against all the praise has started!  Most notably, Jennifer Weiner and Jodi Picoult started tossing jabs at Franzen via Twitter and aired their feelings in a Huffington Post article this week.  I have read books by all three authors and while I agree that there should be room for all of them in the coverage offered to books in the media, the caliber of writing is not equal in all three books.  If NYTBR is celebrating literary talent with its choice of coverage, I can see why they have made the choice they have made.   This article in the New York Times nicely sums up the "Frazen Fracas" and in the book blogging world, I think this post by Teresa of Shelf Love does an excellent of examining the issue at the core of the "fracas".

What do you think about the fervor surrounding Freedom: A Novel?

This Week on the Blog:

This has been a banner week for me - 3 posts and 2 reviews!  Pathetic, I know, but the best I have done in awhile.  The week sometimes gets away from me and I just can't get my posts written so I am trying a new model - I write and schedule my posts on the weekends.  Let's see how this turns out  . . . .

Last week I reviewed:
Leaving Before It's Over: A Novel review here

The Girl Next Door: A Novel (audiobook review here)

Hope you all have a great week!


  1. I feel the same way about the ending of summer...we have been taking our daughter to the pool as much as possible knowing that it will be closing so soon!

  2. I feel the same about summer. I don't mind the fall but it's very short and winter soon follows. I hope your new posting schedule is easier for you. I feel the same, the week it very busy or i'm too tired to write reviews. I usually write my reviews on the weekend and post them the following week.

  3. I've been trying to ignore the end of summer as much as possible, but alas what can we do? I'm with you on the Franzen fiasco.

  4. Fall is my favorite season too but I am not ready for Summer to be over! We haven't had enough of one in SF!

  5. I'm totally ready for the end of summer, but I do not like the Virginia heat during ordinary summers and this year has been a record-breaker, so I've been in bad shape!

    And thanks for the mention! You obviously know how I feel about the Franzen business. I'll add that I wish Time featured more writers on their cover in general--if they did, I'm sure many of them would be women.

  6. I think the Franzen hoopla is well-calculated PR and it leaves me not wanting to read his book (especially after reading a couple of reviews). I haven't read anything by either of the authors who took exception via twitter, etc. I see their point. Franzen seems to put forth an image of wanting to shun publicity and yet any time a book of his is published he's forced into the spotlight. Whatever.

  7. Wow! While I was on vacation I missed all the buzz. I agree that the issue is that women’s commercial fiction isn’t getting as much notice as commercial novels by male authors. This is a real problem. Even if you don’t feel too sorry for bestseller authors like Picoult and Weiner, what about midlist ones or debut authors?

    I started reading Freedom in the bookstore and was struck by how much it sounded like commercial women’s fiction despite being denser (little dialogue and a lot of telling.) I’m undecided about reading it especially since it is so long and heavy. Maybe if I get a Kindle. I much prefer Hornby and Nicholls, but I am married to a Brit.

    On the other hand, Allegra Goodman’s The Cookbook Collector is both literary and women’s fiction and did get attention in the NYTBR. I loved it and will review it later.

    Thanks for the links to both the Huff and Shelf Love. The link to the NYT’s “Frazen Fracus” was missing in your post – what is it?