In order to prevent himself from getting distracted by the Internet while he's trying to work, Jonathan Franzen neutered his laptop's internet capabilities: "You take any Ethernet plug, stick it in the little socket, superglue it in, then take a coping saw and cut off the wire part," he says. "Then the wireless card is easy to take out" (source).
Surprise, surprise – Jonathan Franzen is actually an avid birdwatcher. He wrote a long article about it, entitled "My Bird Problem," in The New Yorker in 2005 (source).
Franzen majored in German in college, lived in Germany for a time, and, yes, even speaks German fluently (source).