I love essays by David Foster Wallace and Nicholson Baker, so Franzen seemed like a good bet (similar demographic, similar niche). I did read this collection all the way through and enjoyed some of it. But overall, I was disappointed. Franzen writes well but not with the awe-inspiring mastery of Wallace and Baker, nor with the clear-as-water unobtrusive skill of the more common run of good essay writers. My main source of dissatisfaction, however, was Franzen's grumpy, depressive personality. He just doesn't seem to have much fun; he doesn't like the world, and he doesn't like himself. The most pathetic passage is where he reveals how he "doesn't consider himself a smoker," and yet finds "a small collection of cigarette butts" in a saucer at the end of every workday. Poor guy. I did sympathize with his depiction of exhaustion and foolishness causing the Oprah ruckus, and his embarassment at his younger self's self-righteousness. But somehow I feel a misasma of unhappy snobbery and self-regard mixed with self-loathing, and it's uncomfortable to read. (He also says idiotic things about the Internet, which is not unusual but is still annoying.) I still plan to read The Corrections someday, although the one scene I've heard the most about (the guy stuffing the salmon down his pants) does not fill me with anticipation.