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Can 2010's Biggest Books Save Your Life?

Here's what happens when you mix guns and literature.

Electric Literature wants to know whether year's biggest—as in thickest—books can save your life. To put the prose to the test, they hired a gunmen to fire some rounds at everything from Jonathan Franzen's Freedom to Joshua Cohen's Witz. They even shoot up a Kindle.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BSUmLAQG-4&feature=player_embedded

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15 Books You Should Have Read in 2010

Best books of 2010, from Stephen King to Patti Smith.


Image by Jane Mount, 20x200

Yes, we read Freedom this year and yes, it was good. As Esquire put it, it “was one great slab of a book, at a time when most books have given up on greatness.” But there were other books in 2010, books that had to compete for our ever more challenged attention spans and won. So we asked a few members of the GOOD team & some of our good colleagues which book made their best list this past year. (And since discovering something you might have missed is one of the great pleasures of reading, no selections were disqualified for having been published prior to 2010).

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GOOD Book Club: Your Reviews of Jonathan Franzen's Freedom

To conclude GOOD's inaugural book club, we offer parting thoughts on Jonathan Franzen's Freedom and post your reviews of the book. Warning: Spoilers.

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Is Tao Lin's Jonathan Franzen Parody the Year's Best Satire?

Tao Lin does his best Jonathan Franzen. But is it the year's best satire?


A recent Time issue hailed Freedom author Jonathan Franzen as the "Great American Novelist" in a gushing portrait. Here's the introduction:

A raft of sea otters are at play in a narrow estuary at Moss Landing, near Santa Cruz, Calif. There are 41 of them, says a guy in a baseball cap. He counted. They dive and surface and float around on their backs with their little paws poking up out of the water, munching sea urchins or thinking about munching sea urchins.

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Rightly or wrongly, we tend to think it rare in the 21st century for a novel to galvanize national discussion the way books might have in earlier eras. Sure, we have our Twilights and Potters and girls with reptilian tattoos, but how often does a work of serious fiction penetrate the literary bubble and reach the masses?

That's why, with the inaugural edition of GOOD's Book Club, we're tackling the macdaddy du jour of literary fiction: Jonathan Franzen's Freedom.

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