Customer Reviews for

How to Be Alone

Average Rating 4
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2003

    The Bobby Vinton of Non-fiction

    I don't read much non-fiction in my free time. I prefer fiction novels. But, I read 'The Corrections' and decided to try JF's 'How to be Alone.' Glad I did. At the outset, I was suspicious of non-fiction by a fiction novelist -- the Reader never knows when the Writer has crossed the line from non-fiction back to the home turf. The Writer probably doesn't know either. So, although I approached the content with a grain of salt, I held JF up to the light with regards to the writing. And the result was pretty interesting. I know that these essays were printed originally in another format -- magazines I think. I don't think that a Reader who read them at the time of their original publications would have the same interaction with them as the Reader who read them in one fell swoop as a collection. Read them seratim and the Writer's controlling hand pops out as much as the substance of each essay. The entirety of the collection plays like an accordian: sometimes JF is distant from the Reader (like an accordian extended and strained) and sometimes he is closer (like an accordian squeezed close and tight to the body) and sometimes he is nearby and amiable but not too intrusive (striking a comfortable C Major). He draws the Reader in and then pushes the Reader out. Among the first group are the essays about the purpose(s) of fiction novels and fiction writing. His syntax, vocabulary and presentation create distance. That's not to say that I wasn't absorbed by them all. (Despite what Ms. M says, I appreciate the effort that goes into knowing and choosing the right word to express the thought.) And that's not to say I agreed with everything JF posited. Sometimes he just made me chuckle. (Honestly, TV is not a horseman of the apocalypse of American culture.) The second group of essays, including those about his father's illness and JF's return to St. Louis, draw the Reader towards his human-ness. He achieves that not only with the content, but use of more pedestrian vocabulary and references to common stuff. (These were hard for me to read as my mother, who suffered from dementia, recently died. Then again, they made me feel a little less lonely.) The third group, including the essays about the Post Office, the prisons and cigarettes, were well-constructed, informative and interesting, and they would have made great segments on Dateline NBC. (I'll not remark on the sex essay as 'Victorian silences appeal to me' too.) So the uptake is that not only are the individual essays worth the effort to read, but also the collection offers a rare glimpse into how a Writer controls the Reader. And JF is a talented man. Which in turn makes me happy. My favorite (and that is the right word) author died this year, which is sad in many ways and on multiple levels. However, I have found a handful of Writers who, collectively or in groups, can fill the void. JF is one of them. I anticipate greatly his next novel. And you know, after reading 'How to be Alone,' I wonder if this news isn't a bit disquieting for JF -- he has an audience with expectations. Ah, the power of the Reader.....

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2003

    change your view

    Visiting a post office hasn't been the same for me, since I read Franzen's LOST IN THE MAIL in this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2014

    Jess

    She sits on her couch, eating a cracker and watching Touched By an Angel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 12, 2013

    Wonderful book of essays.

    Wonderful book of essays.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2012

    A Sparrow

    A sparrow glides through the air, with a note. The sparr dropped it in front of his den. It was from Willowwish. "Dear, Shadowhunter. Sorry about yesterday at my den. I felt bad for making you upset. So I was thinking it over... how about you come visit my den for a little meet-up and get to know eachother and have dinner? If you don't want to come, well, okay. Hope to see you soon." --Sincerly, Willowwish

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2012

    Birdsong

    She curls up in a ball. Sorry- i have to go. Maybe tomarrow?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2012

    Shadowhunter

    Falls asleep

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Insightful and moving...

    ...if not a little preachy and dated. There is a distinct "get off my lawn" quality to a few of the pieces that I couldnt quite get over.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
Page 1 of 1