Monday July 20th, 2009

Postmodern Checklist

Jacket Copy, the L.A. Times books blog, offers an annotated list of “61 essential postmodern reads.” The annotations are clever — 12 symbols for things like “self-contradicting plot” and “author is a character.” The most any book could possibly have is 11, since two of the traits (“fat” and “thin”) cancel each other out, and the most any book does have is seven: House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski and Tours of the Black Clock by Steve Erickson.

Mark Athitakis ponders the list: “At the risk of invoking some ungainly term like ‘post-postmodern,’ it may be that the postmodern novel is just something that happened, not something that’s happening — a method of wrestling with an increasingly mediated existence in the years before mediated existences became commonplace, before a ten-year-old kid could embed video and songs on a MySpace page and make virtual friends with some stranger in Bali.”

I’ve only read 12 of the books listed, so it seems my postmodern education needs some work…