New Authors     New Books     Coming Soon     Most Popular     Top Authors    
<< Previous bookNext book >>

How to Be Alone

(2002)
A non fiction book by

 
Novelist Jonathan Franzen's How to Be Alone is a collection of 14 essays that take the preservation of individuality and complexity in a noisy and distracting mass culture as its main theme. Franzen sees himself, rightly, as one of a dying breed of reader/writers coming to terms with the fact that his world (or at least his audience) is shrinking and struggles with the temptation to give in to the techno world for the sake of health and happiness. We're told that "individuality and complexity" is the main theme but in truth the book is much more interesting than it sounds.

The opening essay entitled "My Father's Brain" is a fascinating and deeply poignant story about Alzheimer's disease that begins with a letter--sent by his mother--containing the autopsy of his father's brain. Instead of a self-regarding piece of "feel-my-pain" sentimentality Franzen describes in minute detail the mechanics of the disease itself, the history of its discovery and its effect on his father's personality and behaviour. It's also about the history of a marriage; a reflection on our need to think of ourselves and our loved ones as a distinct personality and the corresponding need to resist the idea--suggested to us by the progress of the disease--that personality is the function of a lump of grey meat: the brain. It ends with Franzen's post-humous discovery of his father's letters that reveal his secret attempt to stay in the light through force of will.

Besides marriage, memory, disease and death, Franzen also deals with subjects as different as smoking, the sex-advice industry, the workings of maximum security prisons, the fall of the Chicago Mail service and his brief tenure as an Oprah Winfrey author. The collection also includes a revised version of the famously misunderstood "Harper's Essay"--Franzen's 1996 look at the fate of the novel. Those expecting a series of naval-gazing, deadly earnest essays from a snobbish elitist who turns his nose up at popular culture and the benefits of electronic communication should think again. What's refreshing and unusual about these essays is that they are serious, funny, poignant, unpredictable and unashamedly elitist--but not in the way you might expect. --Larry Brown

 
Used availability for Jonathan Franzen's How to Be Alone


See all available used copies of this book at Abebooks UK or Abebooks US
 

Hardback Editions

2003 : USA Hardback
Title: How to be Alone
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 1-4025-5692-6 / 978-1-4025-5692-0 (USA edition)
Publisher: RB Large Print
Availability: Amazon   

October 2002 : UK Hardback
Title: How to be Alone
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 0-00-714725-2 / 978-0-00-714725-0 (UK edition)
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

September 2002 : USA Hardback
Title: How to Be Alone: Essays
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 0-374-17327-3 / 978-0-374-17327-2 (USA edition)
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

September 2002 : UK Hardback
Title: How To Be Alone, Essays
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 0-00-200652-9 / 978-0-00-200652-1 (UK edition)
Publisher: FSG
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

Paperback Editions

April 2004 : UK Paperback
Title: How to be Alone
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 0-00-715358-9 / 978-0-00-715358-9 (UK edition)
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2003 : USA Paperback
Title: How to Be Alone: Essays
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 0-312-42216-4 / 978-0-312-42216-5 (USA edition)
Publisher: Picador
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

September 2003 : UK Paperback
Title: How to Be Alone[ HOW TO BE ALONE ] By Franzen, Jonathan ( Author )Oct-01-2003 Paperback
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 0-00-639433-7 / 978-0-00-639433-4 (UK edition)
Publisher: Picador USA
Availability: Amazon UK   Amazon CA   

October 2002 : UK Paperback
Title: How to be Alone
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 0-00-715257-4 / 978-0-00-715257-5 (UK edition)
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   

Audio Editions

March 2014 : USA Audio CD
Title: How to Be Alone: Essays
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
ISBN: 1-4272-5161-4 / 978-1-4272-5161-9 (USA edition)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA   

January 2013 : USA Audio edition
Title: How to Be Alone: Essays
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Availability: Amazon   

Kindle Editions

March 2014 : UK Kindle edition
Title: How to be Alone
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Availability: Amazon UK   

October 2013 : Canada Kindle edition
Title: How To Be Alone
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Availability: Amazon CA   

May 2007 : USA Kindle edition
Title: How to Be Alone: Essays
Author(s): Jonathan Franzen
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Availability: Amazon   



Search for