Monday, May 27, 2013
An Author a Day for Thirty Days: Day 27
I will freely admit that I was late to the Don DeLillo party. The problem with being late to the DeLillo party is that it’s a daunting task to begin. He’s quite prolific, so knowing where to begin is key. Now, having said that, I have no idea what book is best to start with; I will just tell you how I jumped in. Let’s take a deep breath because brothers and sisters…we are diving in.
White Noise was the first novel I read by DeLillo because when I came out to a co-worker as not having read any of his books, this was the one that was recommended. I wish I read this in a book group because there are dozens of great topics for discussion, such as conspiracy theories, violence, twenty-four hour media cycles, and our obsession with consuming goods.
Now, what I did next was panic because I had been living on this planet for nearly forty years and had only read one DeLillo book, and now realized it was a huge mistake and needed to get a move on. I chose Libra because it was the next novel he wrote and at that time I thought, oh hell, I’ll just finish this guy’s library. Libra imagines the life of Lee Harvey Oswald and what may have led up to the assassination of JFK. If you like a little conspiracy CIA plot in your books, this is excellent.
Next I chose Mao II which is about a reclusive writer (think Salinger) who spends his life writing a novel he refuses to finish (once published it will cease to be art). Themes of violence and commercialism abound; this is my favorite DeLillo book.
Writing this, I realize that all of these books are really great for book groups--tons of stuff to discuss, all incredibly relevant. So in my opinion these are all good jumping off places for DeLillo and it’s a safe bet you will read more than one of his books.