Vampires and zombies share an imbedded anxiety about disease. But what if the audience infers an entirely different metaphor? What if contemporary people are less interested in seeing depictions of their unconscious fears and more attracted to allegories of how their day-to-day existence feels? A lot of modern life is exactly like slaughtering zombies. Step 2 is doing the same thing to the next zombie that takes its place. Repeat this process until a you perish, or b you run out of zombies. Every zombie war is a war of attrition.
In other words, zombie killing is philosophically similar to reading and deleting work e-mails on a Monday morning or filling out paperwork that only generates more paperwork, or following Twitter gossip out of obligation, or performing tedious tasks in which the only true risk is being consumed by the avalanche. The principal downside to any zombie attack is that the zombies will never stop coming; the principal downside to life is that you will be never be finished with whatever it is you do.
The Internet reminds of us this every day. I am asking that consciousness be taken away from me. This function cannot be paused, modified or erased. No new data can be stored. No new commands can be installed. This computer will perform that one function, over and over, until its power source eventually shuts down. This is our collective fear projection: that we will be consumed. All of it comes at us endlessly and thoughtlessly , and — if we surrender — we will be overtaken and absorbed.
Yet this war is manageable, if not necessarily winnable. We live to eliminate the zombies of tomorrow. We are able to remain human, at least for the time being. Our enemy is relentless and colossal, but also uncreative and stupid. Battling zombies is like battling anything But that kind of thinking is deceptive. But this has still created a domino effect. Characters like Mr. Vampire love can be singular. Zombie love, however, is always communal.
If you dig zombies, you dig the entire zombie concept. A few days before Halloween I was in upstate New York with three other people, and we somehow ended up at t he Barn of Terror , outside a town call Lake Katrine. There are essays only about birds, and they are really interesting, as are interestings are the parts about travel in Africa or Antarctica. This last part was really fasciating. I don't know, I appreciated something, I didn't understand something else. The writing style is great, sometimes dry, sometimes empathetic, sometimes just perfect.
I want to read other books from the same author because his voice is powerful and evocative. If you are interested in books about writing, about life, about climate change I totally recommend this, it's really good. Sep 20, Shannon A rated it it was amazing. I was intrigued by the first page;Shared in these essays are the realities we are afraid to voice or even admit silently. The truths gathered here are an intelligent and raw meditation on the various and sundry anxieties that define our collective human guilt.
Mar 16, Dustin rated it it was ok. The first essay about climate change and the complicated human response to it is pretty great The rest is offensively self indulgent and boring. Feb 12, Peter rated it really liked it. It may be a strange way to begin a book review, but with this book it is best to establish a position early. I enjoy birds. I am a rank amateur but my walks have been made much richer when I see birds around me, can identify both them and their songs, and can sit and watch them in their world which, of course, I share.
Frankenstein enjoys birding, no he loves birding, and many of these stories centre around his experience watching, tracking, and travelling to bir It may be a strange way to begin a book review, but with this book it is best to establish a position early. Frankenstein enjoys birding, no he loves birding, and many of these stories centre around his experience watching, tracking, and travelling to birding areas around the world. Within such stories is found insight, opinion, appreciation and, at times, very clear opinions on how humans are encroaching on our feathered neighbours.
These are not short stories. I look upon this book as a micro-biography of parts of his life. This book will make you think. You should read it. Jan 23, Roxanne added it. True confession: I have a bias for Jonathan Franzen after a talk and signing experience back in Rochester a decade ago, shaking like a nervous teen handing him my dog eared copy of Corrections.
Yet with his new release of essays The End of the End of the Earth, Franzen comes back out on top seeming less preachy, and more human. The human aspect of Jonathan Franzen has always been his instant admission to his pomposity, True confession: I have a bias for Jonathan Franzen after a talk and signing experience back in Rochester a decade ago, shaking like a nervous teen handing him my dog eared copy of Corrections. The human aspect of Jonathan Franzen has always been his instant admission to his pomposity, his intermittent pretentious vocabulary, his penchant for all things ornithological.
And yet even here he remains in ethos, not bathos. In spite of its title, The End of the End of the Earth is ironically calming prose in our turbulent times. Feb 15, Jonathan Maas rated it it was amazing. The Best of Jonathan Franzen - highly readable, insightful - and a lot of birds As I have mentioned in many previous reviews - I am quite ambivalent towards the much-venerated genre of Literary Fiction. And yes - that includes ambivalence towards the much-venerated Jonathan Franzen.
In short, I see books through the lens of Aristotle's Telos - which reduces everything to what it is meant to do. A knife that cuts and a towel that dries are good - their Telos is strong, because that is what they a The Best of Jonathan Franzen - highly readable, insightful - and a lot of birds As I have mentioned in many previous reviews - I am quite ambivalent towards the much-venerated genre of Literary Fiction.
A knife that cuts and a towel that dries are good - their Telos is strong, because that is what they are meant to do. But a knife that dries and a towel that cuts are not good - no matter how well the knife dries, and how well the towel cuts - they are not a good knife and towel respectively. If it neither entertains nor informs, I don't believe it holds the Telos of a book.
And in Literary Fiction - this often seems to not be important. You may read a Literary Fiction book for your book club, or because you are supposed to, because everyone else says it is good. You get through it, and gain little, if anything. You are not entertained, and it does not leave you informed.
Do they impress other greats? Do I enjoy their books? Do I rush home to read their prose? Not really. Am I elevated with their books? Somewhat - there may be a sentence or two that is elegant, but it takes me a few pages to find it. In the meantime - I can open any Yuval Noah Harari book, point to a paragraph at random, and find something that might change my world view. I'm not saying their prose is bad - but it's quite an investment to open up one of their tomes, and the rewards - other than saying that you have read it - are not immediate. Enter Short Fiction and Essays - which shows these author's insight and ability to entertain - and does it immediately Put the smallest limit on these authors and they shine.
And I mean anything.
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Short stories, short journalistic non-fiction, or even slightly longer articles - and it is incredible. Shteyngart informs, he entertains - and that's it. Minimal investment as a reader, maximum - and immediate return. You can say the same with this incredible collection by Jonathan Franzen - every essay is great, accessible - and of course, there are lots and lots of birds.
Why Women Don't Code - Quillette
I first read this in National Geographic - and it is important. Birds matter - and Jonathan Franzen tells us why. He has a lot of other articles about this - but this is probably his best. Every word hits home - because most of us are a part of it. They are all good - in this one he goes to Jamaica.
You can read any one - but this one is perhaps the second best, after The End of the End of the Earth. Probably his best one - though being Antarctica, it is different. He finds penguins and not small birds. His great insight is what he learns from his fellow passengers - and that is that he has an appreciation for young people.
He realizes a world without young kids around is like a constant tour group - everyone has formed opinions, and it's functional but - you need kids around. He explores the photography of Sarah Stolfa - And brings the insight into her work. Just incredible. In short - I highly recommend this collection Read one piece - any one - or read them all.
Every one is accessible, every one is entertaining. Read it for the birds. Read it for the entertainment. Read it for the insight. And yes - read it to say that you have read Jonathan Franzen - it's ok to do this. Regardless, I recommend this great collection. Jun 02, Campbell rated it liked it Shelves: ecology , non-fiction , shorts. Any of the essays herein contained, were I to stumble across one unlooked-for in a magazine, would hold my attention and be an interesting read.
Gathered together in a single collection, however, they become too similar, insufficiently distinct, so that the eyes glaze over after a few have been read. I do like Franzen, though, he's a good writer with interesting things to say and, whether you agree with him or not, he says them well. Feb 17, Stefanie rated it it was ok.
First time reading Franzen and probably the last. His prose is lovely, clear, clean and smooth. However his ego is large and gets in the way of his writing being pleasurable. I can't put my finger on anything specific, but I felt like I was being talked down to, that he thinks he is smarter and better than everyone.
In one essay he remarks that his girlfriend was extremely grateful to him for being understanding about her needing to move to California to take care of her mother who was alone and First time reading Franzen and probably the last. In one essay he remarks that his girlfriend was extremely grateful to him for being understanding about her needing to move to California to take care of her mother who was alone and had dementia. She was so grateful she said he she agreed to go on a big vacation with him to wherever he wanted.
He chose a trip to Antarctica. He ended up going with his brother instead of his girlfriend. Um, yeah. Also, since he is an avid birder, I expected he would be more concerned about climate change and loss of bird habitat, etc. And while he cares about it, he has an attitude of "nothing I can do about it" which is convenient for him so he can jet around the world to check birds off his life list. It seems like it was easier for him to be angry about birds dying against the glass of the new football stadium in Minneapolis than birds dying from habitat loss and climate change.
The End of the End of the Earth is an interesting book, on one hand it covers some interesting insights, but on the other it is a passion book. The book is a mixed bag, but it isn't a poor book by any means. Franzen splits the book with interacting stories of his passion for birds, while inter 3. Franzen splits the book with interacting stories of his passion for birds, while interlocking these with various encounters over the years. Each story is well written and gives him more inspiration to pull the finger out and finally read the books I have accumulated over the years.
Creating information bubbles
The biggest thing with authors and articles, or memoirs is the insight you can from the author. It's like unmasking them for the first time and I find this the most interest aspect of this book. I never would have known he had been friends with David Foster Wallace. Just little insights like this help shape the understanding of their social network. Why the 3. I liked most of the articles, but some where a little tiresome and underwhelming.
I'm sure others might find this riveting, but I'm not a birdy watcher. I enjoyed the climate effected sections and the articles focusing on this were amazing. It's interesting to see how an author can have such an interest and the greater media can twist this to suit their own agenda. Having a book like this allows fans and others to understand the truth from the author.
Some articles are stronger than others and this is why I ended up with my final tally. Great writing and I wouldn't say no to another memoir styled book by Franzen. Time to finally read the actual novels. He has been getting rich from my novel collection and I have never even read a book by him. I'm a sucker for a good critical writer. Yeah this isn't for me and since is the year of ruthlessly DNF-ing books that I do not enjoy and authors that I do not enjoy , this book is going in that pile. Dec 20, Keen rated it really liked it.
They are among us but never of us. This coupled with thousands of high powered rifles has predictably devastating results. Although there is an over-riding emphasis on ornithology, Franzen also covers many other subjects, his ex-wife, New York City, Edith Wharton, Philadelphia, climate change, his deceased uncle, then there are his Ten Rules For The Novelist which is exactly that and only takes up a single page his friendship with novelist Billy Vollmann and other topics that make for good reading. So this selection of essays is many things, both whimsical and profound, serious and light-hearted, basically most of the necessary ingredients for a good, quality collection of engaging essays and fans of Franzen should enjoy this, especially if they enjoy bird watching.
Jan 24, Eric Shapiro rated it really liked it. I feel like I don't have too much to say about this essay collection, since a the main topic Franzen discusses are birds and I know nothing about birds and while sympathetic to endangered bird species don't have much to add and b this is an essay collection and this genre is difficult to review since each essay has its own topic and I don't want to get into each essay here. But I'll briefly overview my impressions this book made on me as a whole. For some reason, a lot of people don't like Jo I feel like I don't have too much to say about this essay collection, since a the main topic Franzen discusses are birds and I know nothing about birds and while sympathetic to endangered bird species don't have much to add and b this is an essay collection and this genre is difficult to review since each essay has its own topic and I don't want to get into each essay here.
For some reason, a lot of people don't like Jonathan Franzen possibly because he publicly criticized Oprah? I dunno. I'm not of those people - I think he's hugely talented with the fiction at least , especially at portraying family dynamics that are intimate and personal, and yet feel sprawling and massive in their scope. This was why I loved the two novels of his that I read last year - Freedom and The Corrections - despite the fact that they both could have used some more editing and trimming here and there.
As far as his non-fiction goes, his writing is perhaps not quite as magnetic, but he writes with such a self-awareness of his own biases and viewpoints, as well as an intense excitement about his favourite topics, that even when he's writing about something that doesn't really interest me, I can't help feeling involved and wanting to find out more. As I said above, many of these essays focus on the natural environment, mainly how human activities are endangering bird habitats and some of his adventures in birdwatching around the world, mixed in with a few discussions on literature and his own family.
Why Women Don’t Code
Again, birds aren't really my thing, but his passion for them made an impact on me. This isn't something I would read again but no regrets finishing this quick read. Apr 23, Lucas Johnston rated it liked it. Out of fairness for his last book I thought was a 2. Franzen writes well - however, his content in nearly every essay is the same. He has a passion for birding and it comes through in, I kid you not, nearly every essay in the book.
Franzen has one sh Out of fairness for his last book I thought was a 2. Franzen has one short essay about Bill Vollmann who he credits with being utterly whimsical and crossing all ends of the earth to discover new things. Franzen would benefit by taking a few notes from his own description of Vollmann and trying to do so himself - not simply experience different things as he is clearly a well-travelled man - but to write different things, things that are not birds.
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You're a bad liberal. But don't worry, Franzen will correct you. You're a bad environmentalist. You don't understand Edith Wharton. Jonathan Franzen is one of the greatest living English writers. That's a fact and it's hard to dispute. He's intelligent, poignant, and a master of his craft. He has a voice that's specific, unique, and reflects our time. He's also contrary and a curmudgeon who doesn't understand those d You're a bad liberal. He's also contrary and a curmudgeon who doesn't understand those different from him. And he has no plans to do so. I love to hate him and will continue to read his work.
Reviewing Franzen is to be pulled against two counter ideals: He's too good of a writer, but his message is too off putting. He's the liberal "elite" poster-child the right-wing doesn't know it would love to hate. He's so liberal "elite" that liberals hate him. I'll split the difference. Jan 02, Keith Taylor rated it really liked it. I like Franzen's essays, and I readily admit that it might be because so many of them are about birds, birding, or are reflections that come from the travel and time birding demands.
I share Franzen's passion, even if time and the lack of money haven't allowed me to share the depths of his compulsion. Perhaps he is a little less original or startling on the general ecological collapse, but, really, how can any of us be? I usually enjoy his thoughts on writers, too, although they don't engage me I like Franzen's essays, and I readily admit that it might be because so many of them are about birds, birding, or are reflections that come from the travel and time birding demands.
I usually enjoy his thoughts on writers, too, although they don't engage me as much as his birds. I'm also intrigued by his position in contemporary letters -- a writer so many like to disparage for nonliterary reasons, but yet someone who continues to find a significant audience, even if many in that audience seem to feel that they must apologize for reading him. I don't know any other writer in that position. Mar 11, Liz rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction. Uffff, this was dificil. But if I'm gonna read anyone's musings on climate change, it might as well be Jonathan Franzen's.
Loved all the writings about birds although some parts about the poor birds suffering was too hard for me to take. Poor birdies. I also love how well Franzen "creates" himself as a character: aka, this grumpy ole birdwatching man. Mega mega bonus points for the "Magic Mountain" reference in the final Uffff, this was dificil. Mega mega bonus points for the "Magic Mountain" reference in the final essay Nov 28, Sarah rated it liked it Shelves: essays.
I know Mr. Franzen is polarizing at best and infuriating to many, but the man can write, and he loves birds. I enjoyed this collection of essays, many of which were about birds or birding, many of which touched on the all-too-real issue of climate change and how it is affecting the world-- people and places outside the US gasp and species other than humans gasp. A good collection overall. Dec 18, Pyramids Ubiquitous rated it liked it.
I enjoyed reading this. It seemed like I was having a conversation with the author.
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Franzen is clearly very passionate about each thing he presents in these diary-style essays, and whether or not I agree with some of his inclinations it makes for an engaging and casual read. Readers also enjoyed. Short Stories.
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About Jonathan Franzen. Jonathan Franzen. His fourth novel, Freedom , was published in the fall of Books by Jonathan Franzen. Trivia About The End of the En No trivia or quizzes yet. Quotes from The End of the En What changes, if I take the time to stop and measure, is that my multi-selved identity acquires substance.