♥ Loved: Philip Roth, The Human Stain
♥ Loved: Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road
X Hated: Jonathan Franzen, The Corrections
Recommendation: No prize for the readers who guessed that this month’s submission comes from a man, picking the manliest books for a serious pipe-smoking man person. The Grumpy Librarian acknowledges but does not believe that The Human Stain is a contemporary novel, although perhaps the fact that Roth even acknowledges feminism (even in such a narratively contemptuous manner) counts for something in his canon. A healthy corrective might be Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, in a Turkish bath sort of way, but if you made it through college without having to read it, then congratulations and go with God.
Sprawling-ness seems like a risk, judging by your distaste for Franzen, but you should try Don DeLillo’s White Noise, even if it is yet another novel about the plight of the middle-aged white man and his groundbreaking fears of death and impotence. White Noise is also very funny, and a pleasing length to fit nicely in your briefcase.
Or you could just pick up the collected works of John Updike and find one of those bars that still allow smoking but don’t allow women.
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