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?

We may have excised racist slurs from our vocabularies, and taken down our Confederate flags. But we also should learn to see America through black folks’ eyes. We cannot move from a society where race has always mattered to a society where race does not matter until we recognize that our past continues to live on in our present.

Lee Siegel’s most recent book is called Are You Serious? How to Be True and Get Real in the Age of Silly. I doubt any irony was intended when the New York Times published his essay Why I Defaulted on My Student Loans last Sunday. Those NOT asking “are you serious” can only be others who have or might want to default. Deeply silly, this guy.