I have owned almost all of these books at one time or another, read or attempted to read most, and would recommend five or six. I have wrestled with cool.
Classic 20th century American lit (Hemingway, Fitzgerald)? Check. English department favorites (Pynchon, McCarthy, Calvino)? Check. Once-hot/decade-specific novels that a bright high-school student might read on the recommendation of a 40-ish or 50-ish teacher (Vonnegut, Ellis, Kerouac)? check. And of course Palahniuk, the choice of the somewhat too highly wired guy at the lube shop, who may have a mixed-martial-arts magazine sticking out of his other pocket. Surprised not to see Jim Thompson, Philip K. Dick, or Neil Gaiman.
I don't know what they mean when they describe these as "cool". I've read (as in completed) about half, started and gave up on another four or five and had and have no interest in the rest. Coolest? Nah.
I wouldn't worry too much (not that you do 8-)) about not being on this list, B.C. I agree with the other commenters. What's "cool" or"with it" changes from year to year (hour to hour?). I do agree about the "neatness" of "A Confederacy of Dunces". Unfortunately, like other artists, a writer's "coolness" is often enhanced by him/her being dead.
Post a Comment