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Old 04-02-2003, 07:11 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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What contemporary novels would you like to learn about?


I just got assigned to teach a course for English majors in the novel since World War II--I've got a list of books I've taught before in similar courses, probably too many books to teach in a single course, but I'm still looking to expand my reading list, which consists of novels I happen to like, novels I identify with, etc.

In particular I'm looking for some novels not written by white guys (like Mailer, Roth, Heller, all of whom I've got to include some stuff by because I love their work), novels written in the last few decades (I made up my syllabus in the early 1980s, and have just tweaked it since), and most important of all, novels that are FUN for students to read and for me to teach, novels that excite you, thrill you, amaze you. (They've also got to be by Americans, as the course is "The American Novel Since WWII").

If anyone has a favorite to help me enter the 21st century, I'd like to know. I've got almost a year to hand out the syllabus, so I will be reading a lot of books over the next six months and I'd be grateful for any input from all of you.
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:23 AM
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Let me clarify the title...I mean "What contemporary novels would you like to learn about if you were a student in my class and not yourself?" of course, because you would have read the novels you recommending.
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Old 04-02-2003, 08:54 AM
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How about Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"? Sure, he's British, but he lives in the US now and the book is about America. Gaiman is also one of the best writers working today.

I also think John Barth's "Coming Soon!!!" is a truly great novel, though I may be the only one.

Octavia Butler's "The Parable of the Sower" would be another great choice.
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Old 04-02-2003, 09:14 AM
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Tough - not a lot of good stuff out there, although there is a lot of stuff.

I would've recommended Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee and Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World as the two best novels I have read in the past 15 years, but neither author is American.

How about A Confederacy of Dunces by Toole - great book, great commentary on society, great backstory about the author and getting the book published.

Kavalier & Clay didn't strike me as timeless lit, nor did Cold Mountain. And frankly, I thought American Gods was not good at all (sorry RealityChuck), and even posted a thread about it, to ask what I might've been missing.

Other recommendations - maybe not "Lit" with all of its high-falutin' ness (look, we have all read or tried DeLillo, Pynchon and even Franzen - but you are including the better practitioners of that ilk already, so why go there?)

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara - best Civil War novel, some would say one of the best war novels.

Dune - by Frank Herbert - best sci-fi

Neuromancer or Snow Crash - the most well-known of the Cyberpunk novels, both well-written but completely different from one another.

The Broom of the System by David Foster Wallace - Lit, sure, but funny and interesting before he got too wordy.

And I almost completely forgot - one of the best writers out there:

The Things They Carried or Going After Cacciotto by Tim O'Brien - I much prefer The Things They Carried - a story cycle about his time in Vietnam - probably the third best book I have read in the past 15 years; but Cacciotto beat out Garp to win the National Book Award (or maybe the Pulitzer - one of the two) and is also highly regarded.

Best of luck PRR - let us know what you pick!
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Old 04-02-2003, 09:17 AM
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I second Octavia Butler. She's a black woman, so she fits the "no more books by white guys" criteria. I'd go for "Kindred" over "Parable of the Sower", though. I love PofS, but Kindred would appeal to more people, IMO. The basic premise of Kindred is that a black woman in the 1970s gets transported back to slave times, and find herself a slave. Very interesting book.

What else? James Halperin's "The Truth Machine" is another book that will really make you think. Basic premise is that in the very near future they've figured out a way to make a machine that can tell 100% if a person is telling the truth or lying, and how this discovery changes our political and social system.
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Old 04-02-2003, 09:27 AM
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Exciting stuff. Keep 'em coming, please.

Chuck, if I ever see you, remind me to tell you why I'm not teaching Barth no matter how good his novel may be. (I get to Sch'dy all the time, though not to Rotterdam so much, so this is lilkelier than you're thinking.)
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Old 04-02-2003, 09:44 AM
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Ooops. I forgot to vote for Octavia Butler as well. I enjoyed her Xenogenesis series (Dawn, Adulthood Rights, Imago) as well as Parable of the Sower - although PofS is pretty much of a downer. I haven't read Kindred - seems like I should. Also, in the non-white male category, Toni Morrison seems an obvious choice - I like Song of Solomon and Beloved, but who doesn't?

Hey Pseudotriton Ruber Ruber (interesting name, btw - what's it mean?): any feedback you can provide on our recommendations would be helpful, e.g., your avoidance of Barth. That way, we can get a sense of the type of book you are circling and provide better recommendations. Did any of my previous recommendations make you go "hmmm, that has possibilities" or "I will add that to my 6-month reading list to see if I should include it"?

For that matter, help us understand your take on the Post WW2 "classics" - e.g., To Kill a Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, On the Road, Catch-22, A Separate Peace, Slaughterhouse 5, Garp, etc...they certainly seem worth considering - any reason we should focus on or avoid them when making recommendations?

And finally - what is your take on genre fiction, e.g. sci-fi or crime? Some of Elmore Leonard's best (e.g., Unknown Man No. 89, Swag, etc.) stands up better than most lit, and others mention O. E. Butler, and I already included Dune and the cyberpunk books - all of these are genre, but clearly transcend that box as well. Your thoughts?

Continued luck!
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:28 AM
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The Dispossessed, by Ursula LeGuin.
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:33 AM
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Here are a few offbeat choices, since so many I would have mentioned are already up there:

The Short-Timers by Gustav Hasford

Cloudsplitter by Russell Banks

Live from Golgotha by Gore Vidal

The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick (two connected short pieces, but "The Shawl" rivals "The Things They Carried" as the best story of its decade.)

Except for Cloudsplitter, they also have the advantage of being short, unlike way too many of the doorstop books that get most of the attention.
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Exapno Mapcase

The Mezzanine by Nicholson Baker

The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick (two connected short pieces, but "The Shawl" rivals "The Things They Carried" as the best story of its decade.)
Exapno:

1) The Mezzanine is wonderful
2) Glad to hear you also like The Things they Carried
3) Happy 1000th post! (no, I am not going for a "Hi Opal!" for the third entry - your 1000th post is more important)
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Old 04-02-2003, 11:44 AM
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Either Bailey's Cafe or Mama Day by Gloria Naylor--both have aspects of the Magical Reality that one finds in South American lit.

Maybe one of Flannery O'Connor's novellas.

Don't discount DeLillo or Pynchon or Cormac McCarthy just because they're living white males--in fact, I'd do McCarthy's Child of God just for shock factor.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:00 PM
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The Kundalini Equation
by Steven Barnes
  #13  
Old 04-02-2003, 12:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by WordMan
Exapno:

1) The Mezzanine is wonderful
2) Glad to hear you also like The Things they Carried
3) Happy 1000th post! (no, I am not going for a "Hi Opal!" for the third entry - your 1000th post is more important)
Hokey smokes, Rock! I didn't even notice that was #1000. Glad it was this one and not some dumb wisecrack. Thanks for pointing it out!

We do have some similar tastes, Wordman. I liked Chabon's book a lot more than you did and Toole's less, but both Neuromancer and Snow Crash are fine examples of modern genre. Actually, Stephenson's Cryptonomicon was the one that utterly blew me away. Would be a tough one to teach, though. Samuel R. Delany's Babel-17 might be an alternative, since it is the proto-cyberpunk novel and Delany is a gay black Marxist, which kinda hits all the bases.

For the equivalent in literary modern fantasy, Little, Big by John Crowley and Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin.

Also loved The Killer Angels, BTW.

And I should have remembered Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying which was done here to tremendous acclaim as one of those everybody reads the same book events.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:47 PM
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How about Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, who is both female and Native American? It's got some interesting things to say about alienation and cultural appropriation, and it's extremely well-written.
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Old 04-02-2003, 12:52 PM
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I think my reading list, which has to be pared down some, includes THE CRYING OF LOT 49, and I just jotted down CLOUDSPLITTER before reading your post, E.M., and I was thinking about UNDERWORLD, and THE MEZZANINE, already, so you're all coming up with great ideas--problem is, these great books are all by white guys.

Short List so far:

Mailer: Naked and the Dead, or Armies of the Night
Roth: The Breast or the SHYLOCK thing or HUMAN STAIN
Heller: Catch-22, or Good as Gold
Crying of Lot 49
O'Hara's Novellas
Richard Yates' EASTER PARADE
and a few dozen or so more on the long list. I've got a smattering of women, too (Anne Tyler, Mary Gordon, Alice Adams, Nora Ephron) and a few non-whites (Reginald McKnight, John A. Williams). Maybe I should run the whole list of forty or so writers I'm thinking about, but I'm addding a writer every few hours --without your excellent contribution--and then I'll pare the list down to ten or so. What you're helping me is to think of writers who I don't ordinarily read for pleasure, so this is working out great.

My issue with Barth is personal--I've had a lot of contact with the man, and my distaste for him is matched, only perhaps, by his for me. He's a wonderful writer, but I've got so many other choices that I don't need the agita of having to speak well of him in class. That would burn my ass a bit.

So you can see how I still need to diverify a bit.
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Old 04-02-2003, 01:03 PM
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I third the suggestion of The Killer Angels -- it's beautifully written, the characters are very well-fleshed out and engaging, and it's (from what I've heard) factually/historically accurate. Students with no interest in war or war stories should have no problem reading and enjoying this book.

Paul Auster's City of Glass, a novella in the New York Trilogy but capable of standing alone, is an excellent post-modern examination of language, authorship, and memory. There is much to discuss and much fodder for term papers in this book.

Dorothy Allison's Bastard Out of Carolina is a modern classic -- the women are granite-strong, the men are good-looking, and the child narrator is sensitive and intelligent. The writing itself is compelling and lyrical, and well, dammit, everyone should read this book! It's fabulous. It also totally nails what it feels like to be an abused child, more so than any other book on the subject I have ever encountered.
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Old 04-02-2003, 01:08 PM
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PRR - if you're going to include Anne Tyler - I vote for Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant - it's my fave of hers.

I prefer, though, Ann Patchett - Bel Canto just won something and is wonderful, but I much prefer The Magician's Apprentice.

Sounds like you're on your way - still, any comments on the recommendations made would be helpful to further tune our suggestions...

Two others worth recommending:
The Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson - Completely underappreciated when published, now his crime fiction is held up as the progenitor of a wide vein of books and movies.

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - by Philip K. Dick - Dick is kind of coming up like the Van Gogh of sci-fi - unknown and/or underappreciated in his lifetime, now you can't spit without hitting a new movie based on his work or influenced by it. Any of his more well-regarded books would do....

Exapno - I will check out Babel-17 and A Lesson Before Dying - thanks. As for Helprin, I absolutely love A Dove of the East and other stories - some of the best short fiction I have ever read. I have a wonderful first edition of it, with a couple of signed letters from Helprin inside. Now, if only I could figure out his politics...
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Old 04-02-2003, 01:15 PM
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Just saying I second gallows fodder on Paul Auster, though I'd recommend the whole New York Trilogy. It's not a long read (though I guess the students who like City of Glass, which certainly is the best of the three novels, will read the rest by themselves).
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Old 04-02-2003, 01:37 PM
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I don't have a suggestion that would help you, but I did want to say thanks to everyone who has written in. I've been trying to break away from murder mystery/read a book in an evening/no depth in the stories, characters, etc.

I've read Anil's Ghost recently by Michael Ondaatje (I don't think he fits with your criteria), but I didn't know where to go next. Now, I've got a good reading list to start from for myself.

Thanks.
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Old 04-02-2003, 05:43 PM
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Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

The Rapture of Canaan by Sheri Reynolds. A heavy-handed but still interesting look at a repressive religious 'cult.'

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (one of my new favorite books)

The Further Adventures of Halley's Comet by John Calvin Batchelor. I really enjoyed his writing style and I plan to read more of his novels.

Contact by Carl Sagan. The themes of religion versus science are explored much better in the novel than in the movie--though I didn't dislike the movie. Sagan--who was not religious--gives fair treatment to both sides of the issue here.

The Tortilla Curtain by T.C. Boyle is a great discussion generator, though the characters are extreme stereotypes (I know--that's kind of the point) and one-dimensional.
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Old 04-02-2003, 06:44 PM
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i know they're kind of obvious, but the two i'd recommend are:

One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

and

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

two of my favorites
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Old 04-02-2003, 06:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Shodan
The Dispossessed, by Ursula LeGuin.
Even better, The Left Hand of Darkness.
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:07 PM
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From the "I Can't Believe Nobody Else Has Already Said..." file:

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. It should be on your list even if you weren't looking for diversity of viewpoints.
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Old 04-02-2003, 07:46 PM
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Good one, AS. Invisible Man is powerful and important along with all its other many virtues. It's sitting right there on my fiction shelves, and I'm embarassed that I missed it before.

Native American writer Louise Erdrich has a number of books to look for, including Love Medicine and Tracks.

John Nichol's The Milagro Beanfield War is a fine novel on an aspect of Hispanic culture that doesn't get covered often, but I think he's not Hispanic himself.
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Old 04-03-2003, 07:34 AM
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*bump*
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Old 04-03-2003, 09:15 AM
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I'd go with White Noise as a classic of contemporary American culture before Underworld, as recommended reading to students. Just a humble O.

How about:
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers. A good entry into contemporary southern fiction.

Trout Fishing in America by Richard Brautigan. Great example of experimental prose and large metaphors.

92 in the Shade by Thomas McGuane. A beaut about America and becoming your own person in the face of your's and previous generations.

The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath. Yeow, the artist and the world collide and the artist loses.
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Old 04-03-2003, 11:10 AM
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Tangent, nice call on Geek Love. If nothing else, that book is a guarantee of great discussion.

pseudotriton, are you going to post a list of your forty-odd potentials? I'd love to see it. I don't have all that much to suggest that hasn't been mentioned already, particularly seeing as how I tend to read a lot of novels by white men. It's a shame Zadie Smith isn't American. Or Hanif Kureishi. Or Martin Amis.
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Old 04-03-2003, 11:14 AM
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Also, I know he's a white guy, but I just finished Richard Powers's Galatea 2.2 and thought I'd suggest it.
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Old 04-03-2003, 12:39 PM
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Tom Wolfe's Bonfire Of The Vanities
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Old 04-03-2003, 02:50 PM
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Yeah, Judith. I'll probably do it soon, whenever I can get me, my list, the computer, and ten minutes together at the same time.
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Old 04-03-2003, 03:43 PM
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Someone else mentioned Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon, which I would like to cheerfully second. However, I have a computer background and really enjoyed it - some people might be turned off by the serious math thrown in at various points (My own mother complained about the half-page sized graphs at one section, until I pointed out that they were a series of diagrams depicting a character's "horniness index" as he went through life). But that shouldn't stop you. It's a great story.

I'm currently reading Bruce Serling's Distraction, which is a futuristic political thriller in an almost-defeated America. Maybe you can take a look at that as well.
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Old 04-03-2003, 06:40 PM
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The Risk Pool by Richard Russo. Or perhaps Empire Falls. Or perhaps Straight Man.

Radiance by Carter Scholz.

Microserfs by Douglas Coupland. I seem to recall that he's Canadian, but that's certainly still American, and his books are set in the US.

God's Pocket or Deadwood by Pete Dexter.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.

The Chivalry Of Crime by Desmond Barry.
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Old 04-03-2003, 06:47 PM
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I have to second Catch-22. I must admit that I bought it about 3 years ago and I'm still not finished with it but it's really good so far and I'm always glad when I pick it up and read a page or two.

On The Road also seems kind of obvious but I can't fully recommend it yet as my friend let me borrow it last summer and I just opened it for the first time literally about 20 minutes ago.

On second thought, I guess such a lazy reader as myself has no business in this thread :P.
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Old 04-03-2003, 08:11 PM
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Is there a length limit? Cryptonomicon might be too long for a 12 week course.

John Gardner's Grendel is short, but loaded with philosophy and thought provoking ideas. Personally, I love stories from the point of view of the "villain."

If you're remotely interested in science fiction, check out Mary Doria Russells' The Sparrow. Well worth reading and will definitely spark avid discussion.

How about Alice Walker's The Color Purple? It seems like everyone has already read it, but maybe not.

Too bad you can't include Canadians... Margaret Atwood is my favorite.
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Old 04-04-2003, 10:13 AM
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I actually had Carol Shield's LARRY'S PARTY under consideration for a while until I remembered her Canadian-ness.

I'm not being reticient, but my computer at home is disabled now, and my stack of books are next to it, so when I'm on the comuter I don't have my books handy. I'm going to fix what's wrong tonight, I hope.
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:01 AM
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One thing that strikes me as a I read over people's suggestions, and that I'm sure you're already thinking of if you're the guy teaching the course: If I was a student in such a course, I wouldn't want to just read and analyze a bunch of novels that were cool and fit the category of "American post-WWII writing." I would want to have some sort of coherent flow to the books, and come out of the course with an understanding of the major currents in fiction over the last 60 years. I'm afraid I'm not familiar enough with those currents to suggest what they are, but I would hope there's more to it than needing a couple books by minorities and a couple books from the last 20 years.

E.g. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius would qualify as recent and probably more "fun" to read and discuss while still representing the obsessively ironic or meta- or whatever trend of recent years. You could throw in maybe one piece of genre fiction in there, but I can imagine a lot of English majors dropping a course that had much genre work.
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:12 AM
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No, you're right, Auntie, I need some some sort of thematic linkage, but if I can look over some books that fill categories I'm weak in anyway, that would be better than filling the course with more stuff I'm already strong in.
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Old 04-04-2003, 11:40 AM
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As someone starting teaching a reading course on Tuesday, I just went through this myself. I had a thematic linkage in mind for the course but I still asked friends for more general examples, just to prompt my memory or acquaint me with books I somehow had missed.

But as for "Genius," Eggars' work is not a novel, so it hardly belongs in a novel course. It also happens that I personally found it overwrought and boring and never finished it.

If you want a good representative of modern post-ironic writing, a better candidate is Douglas Coupland. I really like Microserfs.
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Old 04-04-2003, 01:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by pseudotriton ruber ruber
I actually had Carol Shield's LARRY'S PARTY under consideration for a while until I remembered her Canadian-ness.
[minor nit, but could have ramificatons for your class]

Hey PRR, Carol Shields has dual Canadian/US citizenship - that's why her book, Stone Diaries, was nominated for both a Booker and a Pulitzer. Her niece is a friend, which is why I know this, but I am sure a cite would be easy to come by...

[/mn,bchrfyc]

Looking forward to seeing your list...
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Old 04-04-2003, 02:06 PM
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Shoulda searched before I posted, so I wouldn't have to post again.

I found the cite here at the Pulitzer Prize site:

Quote:
Carol Shields was born in the United States and holds dual citizenship here and in Canada. Her previous books include "The Orange Fish," "Swann," "Various Miracles," and "The Republic of Love." Her newest novel, "THE STONE DIARIES," was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and received Canada's prestigious Governor's General Award. She lives in Manitoba.
So you can use that book if you wish...
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Old 04-05-2003, 08:16 AM
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Very cool.

I've got my mojo, and more important my computer at home, working again.


Charles Simmons WRINKLES
John Gregory Dunne TRUE CONFESSIONS
John Sayles UNION DUES
Kurt Vonnegut SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE
Laurie Moore ANAGRAMS
Peter Lefcourt ABBREVIATING ERNIE
Thomas Mallon DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN
Carol Shields LARRY'S PARTY
Joseph Heller CATCH-22
Anne Tyler CELESTIAL NAVIGATION
Russell Banks CLOUDSPLITTER
Norman Mailer THE NAKED AND THE DEAD
Philip Roth: OPERATION SHYLOCK
Thomas Pynchon, CRYING OF LOT 49
Nora Ephron, HEARTBURN
Richard Yates EASTER PARADE
Mary Gordon, SPENDING
Reginald McKnight, I GET ON THE BUS
John O'Hara SERMONS AND SODAWATER
Don Delillo UNDERWORLD
Paul Auster CITY OF GLASS
Nicholson Baker THE MEZZANINE
T.C. Boyle TORTILLA CURTAIN
Richard Yates THE EASTER PARADE
Charles Webb, THE GRADUATE
Alice Adams, RICH REWARDS
John Irving GARP
Tobias Wolff THE BARRACKS THIEF
John A. Williams, CAPTAIN BLACKMAN


and there's another stack of books around here someplace...I've got a lot of reading to do. Thanks for the lst and keep 'em coming.

As to aims--they're mixed. I want

to include some of my favorite novels

to include some classics and some more recent works, representing the full period of 1945-yesterday

to include novels that my students will be stimulated by

to have a reading list that's representative of ethnic backgrounds and genders other from mine, without being too p.c. about it

to find a theme running through my selections to lend focus to the course

and all this, and probably more, without going over ten books in total.

Oh, I'd also like to include at least one graphic novel. I've taught MAUS several times, so I'm looking towards something else, for variety's sake.

Keep 'em coming. Your suggestions are appreciated no end, folks. Thanks a lot for all the wonderful ideas that will keep me reading for months.
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Old 04-05-2003, 01:47 PM
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Here's a wishlist I recently compiled for a class I'm TA'ing.

Angle of Repose – Wallace Stegner
The Last Picture Show/Horseman, Pass By/All My Friends are Going to be Strangers – Larry McMurtry
Neighbors/Little Big Man – Thomas Berger
A Fan’s Notes – Frederick Exley
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey
Song of Solomon – Toni Morrison
Winesburg, Ohio – Sherwood Anderson
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Day of the Locust – Nathanael West
Bastard Out of Carolina – Dorothy Allison
Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson
Call It Sleep – Henry Roth
The Iowa Baseball Confederacy – W.P. Kinsella
The Natural – Bernard Malamud
Nobody’s Fool – Richard Russo
Postcards – E. Annie Proulx
Spartina – John Casey
Sophie’s Choice/The Confessions of Nat Turner – William Styron
A Walk on the Wild Side/The Man with the Golden Arm – Nelson Algren
Manchild in the Promised Land – Claude Brown
A Feast of Snakes/Karate is a Thing of the Spirit – Harry Crews
The Last Detail – Daryl Ponicsan
Johnny Get Your Gun – Dalton Trumbo
Go Tell It on the Mountain – James Baldwin
In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
Factotum/Ham on Rye – Charles Bukowski
Ask the Dust – John Fante
My Year of Meat – Ruth L. Ozeki
Midnight Cowboy – James Leo Herlihy
Fat City – Leonard Gardner
Going After Cacciato/The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien
Men Without Women/Nick Adams Stories – Ernest Hemingway

Sorry about the pre_WWII stuff.
  #43  
Old 04-05-2003, 03:05 PM
AuntiePam is offline
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I don't see Toni Morrison mentioned yet.

If you're going to choose one of hers, let it be Song of Solomon or Beloved or one of the early ones -- anything but Paradise. Mean and hateful, that book was.

I think it'd be pretty cool if you post your list, in case some of us would like to read along.

And ya know, I don't see anything wrong with putting Stephen King in there somewhere. I know he's not a not white male, but he's done some good work. At the least, you could end up with some enlightening discussions on whether something can be popular and still be "good."
  #44  
Old 04-06-2003, 10:47 AM
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I am only noting that Song of Solomon is in my list, Auntie, to bring this thread back to page one.
  #45  
Old 04-08-2003, 05:24 PM
Kithara is offline
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I just wanted to let you know that this thread inspired me to sign up for American Literature 1920 - Present for the Fall semester. I needed an american literature course for my degree, but decided on this one largely as a result of all the responses here. Thank you everyone for helping me choose one of my classes (even if you didn't know you were)!
  #46  
Old 04-08-2003, 05:35 PM
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essvee, oops, sorry, I was skimming the list and didn't see it. Good choice.
  #47  
Old 04-08-2003, 07:35 PM
pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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Cool. Kithara, LMK what the reading list for that course is. Maybe I'll glom some ideas from it.

Speaking of "glomming," maybe I'll add some Jerome Charyn to the list, except he's white, jewish, New York City--all the things I need no more of.
  #48  
Old 04-08-2003, 11:41 PM
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If you're looking for the diverse viewpoint thing, I would highly recommend Sherman Alexie's Reservation Blues. Alexie is Native American, and I particularly like this novel because it is a non-romantic look at reservation life in the present day, and not a bunch of Noble Indians running around being Noble with Bison or anything like that. Also, it's not too long. That sounds terrible, but your students only have so many hours in a day to devote to your reading list, and length of the books will probably be a factor.

All the King's Men squeaks in at 1946, this is one of my favorite books.

Have you considered Peyton Place by Grace Metalious? I think this one is sort of interesting because it was rather scandalous at the time, and I think for quite a while it was viewed as a very NON literary, sensational, trashy housewife book. But the writing has aged much better than one might think. It might also be interesting (if it's in the scope of the class) to look at the societal impact of this book.
  #49  
Old 04-09-2003, 07:39 AM
pseudotriton ruber ruber is offline
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I like All The King's Men, too, though the first time I read it in grad school it seemed long, gloomy, overly intricate, long, tiresome and long. Did I mention long? Also written by a white guy. But it's a great novel.

I have considered Metalious, though THE TIGHT WHITE COLLAR rather than PEYTON PLACE. I don't know if I'm ready to knock someone like Pynchon off the list to get her on, but I see where you're going, I think. Maybe O'Hara (who was banned in NY state for raciness) could assume part of the issue of societal standards. he's a much better writer than metalious (probably my favorite 20th century writer, in fact.)
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