Thursday, May 11, 2006

Discuss amongst yourselves

Toni Morrison's Beloved is "the single best work of American fiction published in the last 25 years."

So says a collection of writers, critics, editors, and other pundits assembled by the New York Times Book Review.

Agree? Disagree? I'd love to argue, because this is just asking for it, but of all the books I read during my two years of studying literature and writing at the University of Iowa, I think Beloved might have been the best book I read. I read through it four times (and not just because I wrote a paper on it), and my copy is dog-eared to hell. Had I not gone back to school, I'm not sure I would've read it. So I'm definitely grateful for that.

The list of runners-up and honorable mentions is heavy with Don DeLillo and Philip Roth novels. Maybe my mind's been away from literature for too long now, but I can't think of anything to add. Not that's been written in the last 25 years, anyway. I love The Things They Carried and Jesus' Son being on the list, though.

You now have your (heavy) summer reading list. Off with you. Carry on to bookstores and libraries, fellow bibliophiles.