Born To Run is really The Essential Bruce Springsteen, by His Hand and in His Voice (even if it isn’t, and it probably is; even if – and because – it could use a stronger editor.) What a book – a tour de force rock ‘n’ roll memoir/deconstruction. Here’s the rock star who decided he WOULDN’T die before he got old, because he sorta liked living.

Wecker’s debut novel is set in New York City, 1899. She spins a yarn about a golem, a clay creature brought to life by a Hebrew mystic, and a jinni, a creature made of fire. Both supernatural creatures find themselves hiding among poor immigrants in turn-of-the-century New York, an ambience rendered affectionately by Wecker. The novel unspools like a fable, gradually accumulating moral force as Wecker’s plot threads gather together in a complex design.

Franzen is depressed about a culture that lives and dies by the memebite, but he’s not changing his approach. I think the problem is that he’s so perceptive about what people think, we read his books and assume he knows us. When his characters behave poorly, we take it personally – why would the author do that to us?

I’m not a zombie aficionado – I don’t watch The Walking Dead, and I can’t make it through any of George Romero’s movies. I squirm at the classic horror stories – Frankenstein, Dracula, etc. But damn if I didn’t love The Girl With All the Gifts, damn if it didn’t bring tears to my eyes, damn if it’s not a beautifully written novel about what it means to be human.

I hated this novel so much I never wrote about it. Now, I see that Fox has a new show called Wayward Pines. Of course Fox wanted this book – it’s set in a town ruled by a fascist oligarchy. The surprise twist at the end is that it’s all good! (Since it’s Fox, it won’t come as much of a surprise.)