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27 February 2012


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I love that you included Anne Tyler! I was feeling pretty righteous for liking Stewart O'Nan. The only over-arching "schtick-y" theme I can see throughout his work (fiction and non) is his attention to characters. Other than that, no two pieces are alike. Sadly, I can no longer feel like he's my own personal discovery now since Bookmarks Magazine featured a whole feature article on him this month. He's gone mainstream now.

Yes, I've always felt a little uppity about Anne Tyler, although she is quite mainstream too.
Well, Bookmarks Magazine is not exactly People Weekly, so I think you can still feel a bit righteous about Stewart O'Nan. You just don't get any better than "Last Night at the Lobster." What nonfiction has he written? I've only seen his novels.

I read mainly fiction and I feel righteous about reading, understanding, and enjoying Peter Carey, Julian Barnes, Colm Toibin, Anita Brookner, Toni Morrison, and Haruki Murakami. Authors that my friends like that I feel totally intimidated by and wish I could read, understand, and enjoy are Don Delillo, David Foster Wallace, David Mitchell, Thomas Pynchon.I think reading any of those four would make me feel totally righteous!

Well, Nancy,
You've got me beat, although I do love Anita Brookner. But Julian Barnes, Toni Morrison, AND Haruki are all beyond me. And frankly I've never understood the appeal of Don Delillo or Thomas Pynchon! I have tried Pynchon about 5 times and never gotten past the first five pages of anything of his.

Have you tried David Foster Wallace's essays? Spectacular stuff, even if you usually read fiction. (I can't read his fiction at all but love his essays.) Re: David Mitchell, try Black Swan Green. It is not like his other novels, but it was a really interesting coming-of-age type read that I enjoyed immensely.

I know--"Last Night at the Lobster" is my absolute favorite of his. I read his non-fiction book, "The Circus Fire" about the Hartford Circus fire of 1944 last year. I'm not sure if "enjoy" is the right word to describe my feelings about the book, since it's just so sad. But, he is definitely engaging, spending time with each of the major characters, from the bandleader to certain audience members to the police investigators. You really care about everyone involved.

I think he co-wrote a book about the Boston Red Sox with Stephen King, too. But, I haven't read it.

John McPhee
Ursula LeGuin
Barbara Tuchman
Dorothy Dunnett
Aldo Leopold

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