Best American Fiction of the Last 25 years

The New York Times has published a list of the Best American Fiction of the Last 25 years. I have read five of the twenty-two books on the list.

Independence Day by Richard Ford
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
Where I'm Calling From by Raymond Carver
White Noise by Don DeLillo
Underworld by Don DeLillo

Of the five I read, I loved all but Underworld. I am not surprised that Underworld is on this list. I think it is the kind of book that people who write and read for a living really like. I found it to be thick and hard to penetrate. I just could not get into it.

There are three Don DeLillo books on the list. My favorite Don DeLillo book, Mao II, did not make the list. I thought that book really captured so much about identity and self value. It is unlike any other book I have ever read.

I liked White Noise. This is a book I was supposed to read for a class in college. I never read the book but I still passed the test on the book. I guessed my way to a good grade. When I read White Noise three years later, I called up the professor and talked about the book with him. I love how unreal the second half of the novel is. Whenever I bush my teeth with my finger I think of this novel.

Whenever I am asked what is my favorite novel of all time, I usually say either Independence Day or The Sportswriter. I would have rather seen the Sportswriter on this list, but winning a Pulitzer Prize might have pushed over the top.

The Things They Carried is a great book. It is not a novel, but a collection of vignettes with a common set of characters. The title story is just amazing. I remember reading it 10 times in a row when I borrowed the book from Jeremy. I need to find a copy of this book and read it again. It has been too long.

Cathedral is my favorite short story of all time. It alone is worth going out and buying a copy of Where I'm Calling From. I have always been amazed by Raymond Carver style of writing about nothing happening. I can remember getting in my car and hearing Cathedral on Selected Shorts. The story was so beautiful that I just sat in the parking lot of a strip mall and cried.

I would love to hear what you have read on this list. I also want to know if you think there is something missing from this list.


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