Last Week, Franzen’s _Freedom_ and Now Nothing

The Amazon.com pic of the novel

I’m not reading this week.  That’s it – I have officially put my foot down.  Last week I spent an inordinate amount of time reading Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom and this week I can’t seem to pick up anything.

Freedom was pretty good, though.  The book tells the story of a marriage – a thoroughly modern marriage, with all of the ups and downs – pitfalls and peaks.  Using various writing techniques, including a changing point of view, a person to whom everything must be “taught” so the reader learns, and long, yet satisfying descriptions and conversations, Franzen manages to take his readers into a politicized and polarizing world and manages to sound only a little bit preachy.  I learned a lot about dialogue and how characters can share ideas – whether or not they agree on them.  The reader can read the dialogue and not get turned off, even if he doesn’t personally agree with the character’s viewpoints either.

That bugger is HUGE though! It’s 576 pages and a lot of it is one of the main character’s autobiography.  So we do see more of one character than the others.  The story gets a bit unbelievable in parts – like since when can a nineteen-year-old buy and sell arms for a foreign country? – but on the whole I was engaged in the story and what was going to happen with these nutty, self-absorbed, and mildly neurotic people.  Make no mistake – they’re all like that.  Every character has a serious neurosis.

So maybe, after the strong dose of Franzen’s prose, I don’t have to read this week.  I feel a little weird about it, but perhaps a break from reading will make me miss it, and I will be caught up in the next book.  I guess I’m giving myself permission to slack off on reading when I know how important it is to a writer.

So tell me, since I’m not reading this week? What are you reading?? What should I pick up next?