This week saw the release of Farther Away, Jonathan Franzen’s newest collection of essays and speeches, covering the last five years of his non-fiction output. Well, in those last five years, he has become increasingly grumpy, griping about things like Twitter and ebooks, and building a reputation as an unrepentantly prickly author with a constant bone to pick. To celebrate the release of another book filled with Franzen’s complaints, we’ve put together a list of the ten grumpiest, crankiest and most cantankerous authors still living today. Click through to read about the exploits of our favorite literary curmudgeons, and let us know — as un-crankily as you can, please — if we’ve missed anyone in the comments.
While there are a few things Franzen actually likes, the author has stirred up a lot of controversy recently with his high-profile tirades against Edith Wharton, e-books, literary critics, and Twitter, of which he grumbled: “It’s a free country. People can do whatever they want within the law, and even some things not within the law… I personally was on Facebook for two weeks as part of a piece of journalism I was writing — it seemed sort of dumb to me. Twitter is unspeakably irritating. Twitter stands for everything I oppose… it’s hard to cite facts or create an argument in 140 characters… it’s like if Kafka had decided to make a video semaphoring The Metamorphosis. Or it’s like writing a novel without the letter ‘P’… It’s the ultimate irresponsible medium.” Not to mention the fact that he totally called out his supposed (and deceased) friend David Foster Wallace for fabricating his essays. We get it — everyone still likes him better than you, and that hurts. Let it rest, dude.