In the past few weeks of my internship, it has become more and more apparent to me that my formal literary education has guided me in one direction: towards death. That is, my bookshelves are lined with authors that are no longer capable of writing because, you guessed it, they’re all dead. From Woolf to Wilde to Joyce to the Brontes to Frances Burney, I like my books old, and my authors’ reputations set in stone.
While there are a few exceptions (I love Salman Rushdie, Yann Martel, and a few others), my dedication to the books and authors from my English literature classes throughout college has led to some troubles in the Office. Whenever conversations lead to the question, “Shelby, who’s your favorite author? Who should we ask to write a NaNoWriMo pep talk?”, I give blank stares and consider busting out the old Ouija board (those would be some pretty tough authors to find contact information for).
With the Frenzy of April behind me, and the novel-writing of Camp a few weeks off, this seems to be the perfect time to round out my literary tastes with some post-modern, contemporary fiction. My real issue is this: there’s still so much older stuff out there that I haven’t gotten around to reading. How can I move on to the literary movements of today when I’m already behind on the literary movements that spanned the history of the written word?
But, alas, I’m feeling myself pulled toward the new millennium (finally), which brings me to you. Where should I start? Who should I read? What are your favorite books of the past few decades?
Photo by Flickr user MrOmega