Fired From The Canon is a list of ten allegedly classic books which contributors to online literary journal The Second Pass suggest you refrain from reading. I enjoyed reading the list, partly because I like snark but more because I think their reasons against reading each book, whether or not I agree, are thoughtfully yet succinctly expressed. Out of the list, I have read:
- White Noise (Don Delillo): THANK YOU JESUS. You know that thing about judging other people based on their literary/musical tastes? I rarely do that since I adore plenty of people with tastes I detest, but after reading this book I remember thinking that I could probably never be on the same wavelength as someone who loved it, and their writeup is spot on as to why.
- One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez): I disagree. The book does feel as if it takes ages to get through, but Garcia Marquez books usually give me some of the most immersive and atmospheric reading experiences I’ve had, so I don’t like to rush through them anyway. I’m hardly an expert in the genre of magical realism and perhaps it is, as they assert, “now thoroughly clapped out”, but out of the various other magical realist books I’ve read, none has delighted me and sustained my reading attention as much as One Hundred Years of Solitude.
- The Road (Cormac McCarthy): I gave this five stars in my 2008 reading rundown, so clearly I disagree. They may be right that it pales in comparison to Cormac McCarthy’s other books (I haven’t read any others yet, so don’t know) but as compared to the larger literary universe it more than holds its own.
- The Rainbow (D.H. Lawrence): Read this while I was supposed to be studying for first year law exams. I found it interesting enough at the time, perhaps because the alternative was reading about property law, but now I can’t remember anything about it at all.
- On The Road (Jack Kerouac): Yes, most of this was tedious for me. I dimly recall one bit of writing I liked, something about being in a jazz club.
- The Corrections (Jonathan Franzen): I liked some of the writing, as I commented at the time, but their criticisms are fair too. It felt laboured and inconsistent.