Article of the Day: Po-Mo Reading List

When I was in college, I took a postmodern novels class.  This might have been difficult enough on its own, but the class was made more challenging by the fact that all the books were in Spanish.  Nevertheless, I learned what “post-modernism” means (I think), which was helpful when I got to grad school, where the term was bandied about far more than necessary (although sometimes with irony, thank goodness).  I picked up the following link to a Los Angeles Times story about post-modern novels from The New Yorker, where I am reading the latest Malcolm Gladwell piece.  The Gladwell article is on overconfidence.  It’s good so far.

According to the LAT piece, there are 61 essential post-modern pieces, and I’ve read 6 of them.  Is 10% good?  Maybe it’s because so few are by women… Here are my takes on the 6 that I’ve read. (NB: the icons pertain to the LAT article)

Dave Eggers’ “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius”Icons_134579 (of course. like 4 times)
Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Everything Is Illuminated”Icons_134567 (I quite liked this, but JSF’s other novel is Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, which I thought was amazing)
Vladimir Nabokov’s “Pale Fire”Icons_23456 (crazy meta-narrative about a poem written in rhyming couplets, yet which has an odd number of lines; “Shady” narrator; Nabokov was a genius)
Harvey Pekar’s “American Splendor”Icons_1367 (do you think watching the movie counts? I saw the movie.)
William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”Icons_34561112 (great! I preferred it the second time I read it.)
Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five”Icons_345711(Vonnegut makes me so depressed.)

What makes a novel postmodern?  Which have you read?  Would you add or delete from this list?  Why are there only 3 women on this list?

PS — Apparently I think it’s postmodern/post-modern to spell it with and without a hyphen in the same blog post.  Now my brain hurts from typing “post” so many times.


One response to “Article of the Day: Po-Mo Reading List

  1. 9 and a third and two pages and a maybe and a couple I picked up and then put down. Would recommend The Blind Assassin and The Things They Carried though, for sure….

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