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Today in Literature

May 8, 2009

8 May 1937:  Reclusive American novelist Thomas Pynchon was born in Long Island, NY.   Pynchon attended Cornell University with the intentions of studying engineering physics, but after taking a course with Vladamir Nabokov and a fews years off the serve in the U.S. Navy, he switched tracks and majors to study English literature.

Pynchon’s best known novel, Gravty’s Rainbow, was published in 1973 and stands–at least for me–as a touchstone of postmodern literature.  Much like The Crying of Lot 49, signs abound and everything is seemingly connected in Pynchon’s world of fiction.

In August, Penguin will release Pynchon’s lastest novel Inherent Vice (weighing in at only 416 pages, as opposed to Against the Day‘s 1085 pages) and my copy has been preordered since January.

If you’re short on time to fully appreciate Pynchon on his birthday, I suggest that you dust off your Norton Anthology of American Literature and go to town on Pynchon’s early short story “Entropy.”  While not nearly as sharp as his later, longer work, Pynchon’s early short stories (collected in Slow Learner) show the promise and future themes of one of America’s greatest novelists.

Today is also author and journalist Naomi Klein’s birthday.  To celebrate her birthday, I’ll read No Logo today during my lunch hour while sipping my Italian-named drink at the overbranded neighborhood Starbucks.

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