Book Trailer Thursday: Freedom

Count me in as one of the legions of Franzenites. I’ve been a enthusiastic fan since The Twenty-seventh City (1988) and I still count Strong Motion (1992) as one of my faves. The guy can write! But can he make videos? No! He cannot!

But Franzen’s a wily one. He begins this little–well, I’m not sure what this is–this little thing about his new book Freedom by giving a half-hearted apology:

“This might be a good place for me to register my profound discomfort at having to make videos like this. To me, the point of a novel is to take you to a still place. You can multitask with a lot of things, but you can’t really multitask reading a book. You’re either reading a book or you’re not. To me, the world of books is the quiet alternative, an ever more desperately needed alternative. I understand that not everyone sees it that way; I understand that a lot of commerce happens online now–so I think it makes eminently good sense to be recording little videos like this.”

Then he goes on to talk about the book. I’ll give to Franzen: he makes a very compelling case that he has no business appearing in such videos.  The lighting, the mumbling, the lack of context, the lack of interest–it’s a shining example of everything to avoid in your own author video.

Verdict: Fail. But Franzen seems to know this, expect it, and not really give a damn. It’s not like he wanted to do it. (And it’s not like he needs more press. ) Dull as this is, is won’t dissuade fans, me included.



About the Author:

Dan Kraus is Booklist's Editor of Books for Youth. He is also the producer and director of numerous feature films, most notably the documentary Work Series, and the author of several YA novels, including Rotters and Scowler, both of which won the Odyssey Award. Follow him on Twitter at @DanielDKraus.

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