Pity the poor author who has to release his or her book during what some are calling “Franzen Frenzy.” Even before Jonathan Franzen’s much-raved-about novel Freedom hit stores on August 31, his face was on the cover of Time (headline: “Great American Novelist”); New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani called the book “an indelible portrait of our times” (though Franzen once allegedly called the journalist “the stupidest person in New York,” so maybe that doesn’t count); and even Obama added to the hype by using his presidential powers to snag a copy before everyone else. So who knows what the scene will be like tonight when Franzen—who won the National Book Award for his 2001 novel The Corrections and memorably dissed Oprah’s Book Club—makes his first official book-tour appearance in NYC? Our guess? Try to get there early.

Wed., Sept. 8, 7 p.m., 2010

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