Monday, September 20, 2010

What We're Drinking This Week

Another stellar week ahead here at the Amateur Mixologist, your home to drink information, recipes, and extremely random book and music recommendations! 

As you may recall from last week's "What We're Drinking This Week" post, I'm just now digging into John Franzen's new novel, Freedom.  The book has, in that brief time, been selected as the last book to be featured in Oprah's Book Club.  Oprah, as you know commands a massive audience, and her book club is responsible for moving thousands of copies as soon as a book is selected. 

In this instance though, Freedom was already being hailed as the Next Great American Novel, by numerous critics.  Read all of these various words of praise:

From the New York Times book review:  "Jonathan Franzen's new novel, "Freedom," like his previous one, "The Corrections," is a masterpiece of American fiction."

From another New York Times story: "an indelible portrait of our times."

From "Brilliant portrait of our times."

From the Dallas Morning News: "Jonathan Franzen does not publish often, and when he does, critics and readers of serious fiction look to him for large, carefully crafted, consequential statements about life in the American middle class."

And the comparatively tame: "Franzen has written two terrific novels in a single decade and that the new one is just as good as the last."

I'm starting to feel as though people like this novel. 

What's interesting is that I cannot recall this much buzz and pop culture attraction for such a critically acclaimed novel in my lifetime.  Sure, a sequel to Da Vinci Code kills at the bookstore, and would certainly sell millions of copies.  But no one take it seriously as a true literary work of art.  So what's changed this time around?  Why are people gravitating to a 600 page novel in a way that's usually reserved for a 300 page piece of beach-reading fluff? 

I don't have the answer, though I do think it's a hopeful sign.  One must at least give Oprah credit for selecting a quality book, as opposed to something as ridiculous as The Secret, which upon the mere thought of it, makes me mad with rage.  For as often as Oprah does a disservice to her audience - and there could be no greater disservice to her audience and culture at large than introducing them to the cockamamie bullshit that is The Secret - sometimes she pulls out a gem and exposes her audience to the same.  Freedom is one such gem.  It in no way would have lurked in the shadows.  It would have been a literary phenomenon with or without her book club.  But, still, she chose wisely, and for that she deserves some credit.

What We're Drinking This Week

Boy, after thinking of The Secret, I'm infuriated enough that I need a drink.  Like, immediately. 

Wednesday:  Gin Rickey - classic gin based cocktail that is sure to please.

Friday: Pale Deacon - another gin based cocktail with grapefruit juice.

See you on Wednesday!  And, if you just can't get enough of me, you can always follow us on Twitter, @IMakeDrinks



Mike said...

Didn't Franzen turn down Oprah before? KMind of funny that she came back to him a second time around.

Anonymous said...

Could not agree more about how infuriating The Secret is and Oprah's decision to bring it to her large audience.

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