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For these are all books that I genuinely loved, and wanted to write about, for one reason or another. , John Barth (2011) Even into his early eighties (born 1930), the long-reigning master of postmodernism (hipsters call it “po-mo,” or even “pomo”) demonstrates his endurance as a playful-yet-profound observer and contemplator of humanity and life. Barth describes a young writer in a small house in Upstate New York with a full teaching load and a young family.

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Although these books are all current and contemporary, the only quality some of the authors share is that they happen to be alive and writing at the same time — their work couldn’t be more different.

And yet, whatever techniques and preoccupations they employ to tell their stories, their accomplishment is the same — they spin a good tale, and delight the reader.

Male writers have sometimes been congratulated for portraying believable female characters, sympathetic and not, and Lynn Coady seems to have an astonishing grasp of masculine patterns of thought — the peculiarly male insecurities, codes, and hormonal drives. Douglas Coupland (2004) Another Canadian writer, but closer to the middle generation of the authors under discussion (born 1961), Douglas Coupland is an artist who has also “triumphed over success.” Meaning that success, if it arrives too early, or proves insufficient, is generally something a real artist has to “get over.” Too much attention and praise can be a psychological pitfall, and the artist has to come to terms with “expectations” — his or her own, and those of utter strangers. (Actors, musicians, and authors alike.) However, those who do come through that fire are often purified, ennobled, and freed of any temptation to compromise their work for public approval.

None of the main characters are stereotypical, but they all . They just make art they like, and hope others like it too. ) Douglas Coupland trained as a visual artist, at which he still excels in painting and sculpture, and became a writer, he says, “by accident.” His fame built gradually with his first novel, (1991), in which he popularized not only an infamous successor to Gertrude Stein’s damning “Lost Generation,” but also nailed enduring pop-culture-driven sociological concepts like “Mc Jobs.” The theme of , not surprisingly, is loneliness, and the Beatles’ song is an apt soundtrack.

The young and severely hip clerk (what we would now call a metrosexual) sniffed, then muttered, “Does anyone read John Steinbeck anymore? Likewise the other moderns, Hemingway, Faulkner, Dos Passos, Fitzgerald, Jack London (just reread some of his early stories — powerful stuff, like the best of his novels, ), the “Four Ws” (ooh, I like that!

) — Wharton, Welty, Woolf, and Willa — even the earlier pioneers of modern realism, Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, and Theodore Dreiser. But we’re not supposed to be getting into all “No,” said Mack.And not only reader, for in most cases these titles were well-reviewed and even fairly widely read.So, wishing to give each of them its due nod from Bubba’s Book Club, I will attack the list alphabetically, with a brief description.And as someone observed, “The hardest kind of writing is being smart about books.” (Okay, that was me.) Perhaps, to a blockhead, that reason alone makes it worth the effort to try.But there is also the simple motive of wanting to “share the love.” On this occasion, a couple of reflections encouraged me to attempt it.To quote Ovid (some wisdom demands repetition), “If the art is concealed, it succeeds.” Subtle shadings of description and mood are woven with consummate skill into sentences of modern brevity and clarity, but the rhythm of words is used like phrases of music — to make description mood.

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