The Corrections

Added Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections to my book recommendations list. What a remarkable achievement this book is.

[This post was imported on 4/10/14 from my old blog at My old book review webpage is no longer up, but I’ve pasted the text of my review below.]

I just finished this book, a complex and time-consuming work chronicling the lives of the five members of one modern Midwestern family. Although the roughly five and a half hundred pages cannot be rushed, they are incredibly rewarding. Some of my other favorite books are well loved because they are so timeless, but this one is astutely relevant. Franzen is brilliant. His book brings me a much greater sympathy for the world and the people around me, and also for myself.

My classification: Like I said, this is slow going, but it’s also easy to put down and pick up again. I don’t mean this as an insult. It does well with time to digest, because it comes at you with all the complexities of life itself and sometimes you just need to pause. I read about half of it last week and then just left it for a while, and came back to it again a few days ago. Unlike many of the books I recommend, I don’t think there’s a big problem in reading this book in a busy place or with other people around. In fact it might be nice to have someone around with whom you can share your thoughts. If you find the first few pages jarringly contemporary (they’re not weird contemporary, just, well, they’ve got a style, let’s say), don’t worry, by the time you start to know the characters the narrative form becomes familiar. Read this book if you want something you can really sink your teeth into.