Reader's Notes - PN 2.7 - 100 Great But Overlooked Novels

On both Andrew Seal's Blograhpia Literaria and Mark Athitakis’ American Fiction Notes, we find the table of contents to a book of the 100 Greatest American Novels You've (Probably) Never Read, by Karl Bridges. Lists like these are always subjective and open to debate, and I believe that's why we love them so much. Defining the canon is so maddening in the first place.

As a reader, I do not particularly well as far as what I've actually read on this list (I've got five), although I have to say that while I've read some of these authors, the representative titles are perhaps not the best choices. I've got Brockden Brown under my belt -- I even teach Wieland -- but why Edgar Huntley? From the first page in the table of contents, Harry Crews, Don DeLillo, Philip K. Dick, Ernest Gaines, and John Hawkes I've all read, and several titles from each, but not the particular selections offered by Bridges. I suppose these are overlooked authors in some cases, overlooked works in others. Much head scratching.

Still, I would have to disagree outright with many of these choices. As one comment on Blographia pointed out, DeLillo is thought to be good by some, but few few readers would offer The Players as his best work. I can think of a half dozen DeLillo works that are more rewarding. I've even taught DeLillo's End Zone to high school students with great success, and very few people have ever heard of that one. Let the discussion begin.

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