Sunday, March 10, 2019

Ten books that defined the 1960s

At LitHub Emily Temple tagged the ten books that defined the 1960s, including:
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969)

Despite its strangeness, mixing science fiction, historical fiction, autobiography, and satire with a strong postmodern hand, Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse-Five achieved cult status after its publication, which landed smack in the middle of the Vietnam War, the anti-war movement, and the civil rights movement. The novel, wrote critic Jerome Klinkowitz, “so perfectly caught America’s transformative mood that its story and structure became best-selling metaphors for the new age.” The repeated phrase “so it goes” entered the lexicon as well, a response to death and destruction that, according to the Times, “became a catchphrase for opponents of the Vietnam war.” But even outside of the context of Vietnam, this novel has become a touchstone for young readers, and despite its popularity, I’d still categorize it as a cult classic today—it remains a shibboleth for a certain kind of reader, at a certain age.
Read about another entry on the list.

Slaughterhouse-Five also made Ryan North's 6 favorite books list, Jesse Armstrong's top ten list of comic war novels, Joel Cunningham's top five list of short but deep novels, Tom Lamont's top ten list of time travelers, Melissa Albert's list of six favorite fictional book nerds, Jon Ronson's five top list of books on madness, Charlie Yu's top ten list of time travel books, John Mullan's list of ten of the best aliens in science fiction, Charlie Jane Anders and Michael Ann Dobbs's list of twelve great stories to help you to cope with mortality, Sebastian Beaumont's top 10 list of books about psychological journeys, and Tiffany Murray's top ten list of black comedies.

--Marshal Zeringue