Monthly Archives: July 2013

The test of time. . .

I wonder sometimes about the literary fiction that has been published during my lifetime, and whether any of it will be known and read in future generations.  The way society is changing so fast makes me a little pessimistic about what the future holds.  Reading and literature are simply one part of the worrisome scenario.

So my question is: Are there any literary or mainstream novels published since Catch 22 that will live on for future generations?

Subquestion 1:  What about The Da Vinci Code, and is it even a literary novel, or is it a genre novel?

Subquestion 2: Am I revealing a deplorable literary ignorance by asking the above questions?

Thanks for any feedback.

Books about people who like books

I’m finding, more and more often, that the books I’m reading lead me to other books, by the power of suggestion.  For example, I read Cast a Giant Shadow by Ted Berkman, the biography of Mickey Marcus.  Mickey’s favorite book was The Green Hat (Michael Arlen), which by coincidence was already on my future reading list because I had come across it while browsing at the library.  So I knew I had to read it, and I have to agree with Mickey that it is indeed a literary gem.

If you need suggestions for late 19th century or early 20th century fiction, read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s This Side of Paradise.  The book is very autobiographical, and the young protagonist and other characters spend a fair amount of time mentioning the books they read.  They were quite prolific.  In Keep the Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell’s persona works in English book “sellers”, and he expresses a great many opinions about the particular books, both good and bad, that customers ask for.  Some of the “good” ones I’ve added to my future reading list.  OK, a few of the “bad” ones, too.

Right now I’m reading The 42nd Parallel by John Dos Passos (a pretty amazing book).  One of his main characters read Romola, by George Eliot.  She’s one of my favorite authors, so Romola has moved way up on my reading list.

If anyone has any other examples of books leading to other books by the power of suggestion, I would love to hear about them.  Thanks!