Booklist vs. the Tribune

The Chicago Tribune’s Julia Keller offers this year’s thoughts on the Great American Novel (“The Great American Novel was written by:“).

And chooses American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis.

I’m thinking she was swayed by the fact that the word American is in the title.

Last year, Bill Ott asked us to vote for the Best American Fiction from the Last 25 Years — not exactly the Great American Novel, but at least it encompasses the Ellis Era. Strangely, American Psycho didn’t get a single vote.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with having a weird opinion. I’m just saying.)

I voted for Caramelo, by Sandra Cisneros. I might have a different opinion this year, but I always find these decisions a struggle. It’s more fun to pick on other people’s picks than to pick your own.

Any other nominees, whether knee-jerk or carefully considered?



About the Author:

Keir Graff is Executive Editor of Booklist Publications and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix (2011). Follow him on Twitter at @Booklist_Keir.

4 Comments on "Booklist vs. the Tribune"

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  1.' Pete says:

    Keller’s bold opinion lasted less than a week. Now, for the moment anyway, her pick for the Great American Novel is “Silas Lapham” by William Dean Howells. From Ellis to Howells in just a few days – when one’s opinion is that pliable, it seems pretty pointless to state it publicly at all.

  2. Keir says:

    I agree. To maintain one’s dignity, one should wait a minimum of one year before changing one’s mind.

    More seriously: yes. If she’s not going to stick with it for more than a few days, then we’re just tuning in to watch her change her mind.

  3.' stevie says:

    No book has touched me as deeply as Richard Russo’s “Empire Falls” in the last ten years, except for books published so long ago they can’t qualify (“All the King’s Men,” for example). I sometimes wish I’d never read “Empire Falls” so I could read it for the first time again.

  4.' Keir says:

    Stevie, what a great way to say it. I’ve had that same feeling, too — wanted to reread a book I love but couldn’t start because I knew it wouldn’t be as good as the first time.

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