"Serious" writer with "serious" glasses.
In the course of internetting regarding mass market books for my last post, I came across several articles that mentioned “Franzenfreude.” This non-word was created as part of a Twitter campaign waged by mass market faves Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Weiner. The two were questioning why “chick-lit” books, books that deal with women-centric themes, get ignored by the literary establishment while similar books written by men get considered serious works of fiction. Men like Jonathan Franzen, author of The Corrections, Freedom, and every other books that “teaches us about ourselves.” Franzenfreud.
A few years ago I walked into a Barnes & Noble with a question. I was looking for the cheapest possible edition of “Dreams of My Father,” the Obama autobiography. Yup, guilty. I knew on some level that I would never actually read this book, but while travelling I had seen a teeny-tiny sized $8 copy and thought, “Yeah, I could buy that. It’s cute.” I didn’t, but I thought maybe the book would be available next to the mysteries and romance novels in the little paperbacks’ section. It was worth $8, I thought, but, like, only that much.
When I asked customer service whether they had this edition, I got a surprising response. Not only did they not carry it, but they assured me in their obnoxious bookseller voice that the publisher had “never released the book in mass market size.” Like, at all.