Jan 6, 2009

Since You Asked...

Here's what I'm going to be teaching in my contemporary American fiction class this spring. I ended up going only with books published in the last 20 years (cheating by a year to add Beloved). If I had to do this list over again tomorrow, it would be different: more small-press stuff, more genre stuff, etc. But this time around, it's going to be:

Alexie, Indian Killer
Chabon, Kavalier and Clay
Diaz, Oscar Wao
Dunn, Geek Love
Eugenides, Middlesex
McCarthy, The Road
Morrison, Beloved
O'Brien, The Things They Carried
Ozick, Heir to the Glimmering World
Robinson, Gilead
Stephenson, Snow Crash
Whitehead, The Intuitionist

plus the Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories.

Comments welcome.

6 comments:

Sam said...

Not bad. I haven't read all of those, so not a bad list for me to tackle myself.

But the Road: Isn't that novel only impressive to literary types who don't read genre and know that it's not much different or better than a hundred different post-apocalypse stories? I kind of think Amnesia Moon is better. It was well written, but violated the rule for me where the writer purposely withholds information that the narrator would logically supply. As in - what the hell happened?

Alex Irvine said...

I thought seriously about Amnesia Moon, which is my favorite of Lethem's novels (even though he has dismissed it as 'juvenilia', which tells you something). But I wanted to do McCarthy and this one seemed timely.

Gibran said...

Very cool syllabus. Now, how do I take the class if I'm not enrolled?

Alex Irvine said...

Go read all the books! Then think smart things about them.

Joel Rivers said...

The Road is incredible! Great pick!

JanElizabeth said...

Just seeing this list now (just coming across this blog now, as a matter of fact...great stuff). Heir to the Glimmering World is one of my contemporary favorites. Glad someone's teaching it.