Carolyn Kellogg at the LA Times blogs about the 61 essential reads of postmodern literature. I’ve read some of the list and here’s my take.
Margaret Atwood’s “The Blind Assassin” is a wonderful book, probably her best. Calvino’s “If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler” is romantic and Calvino is one of the unique sensibilities in all of literature. I liked Umberto Eco’s “The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana” but found it a little too densely allusive; I prefer “Name of the Rose”. Dave Egger’s “A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius” is always recommended. Faulkner’s “Absalom! Absalom!” is difficult to read but Faulkner is always worth the effort; it is worth noting that Faulkner is one of the few authors who is truly inventive with language. “Hamlet” and “Metamorphosis” are of course two centerpieces of all literature. Nabokov’s “Pale Fire” is Nabokov at his wittiest, and of course Nabokov is unbelievably lyrical, a master the language dance. Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow” is difficult but beautiful. And “Slaughterhouse Five” is a must read from Vonnegut.
I might add a few, like Stephenson’s “Cryptonomicon”, or more Faulkner, or Nabokov, or Atwood, or Joyce, but the list is an excellent one as is. Here is Bookslut, one of my favorite literary blogs.