Reality Hunger by David Shields. David, my teacher and friend, has made it his mission to deconstruct the novel as we know it. This book, which calls for a new way of thinking about fact and fiction, is a masterwork. Its content breaks down the expectations readers have while reading traditional narrative, while its form is a shining example of the new kind of narrative Shields endorses.
This Is Not a Novel by David Markson. The lists in this genre-bending book accumulate power through their juxtapositions. By the book's end, you feel in tune with a man's whole life and with a culture's literary heritage.
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. This is one of those books that a young writer reads and then has to teach himself not to copy because its influence is so strong. It uses text as image, so that the graphic arrangement of the words mimics their content and the motif of the labyrinth lives both in the content and in the path a reader takes through the book.
Salinger by David Shields and Shane Salerno. Ostensibly a kind of oral biography of J.D. Salinger, Salinger is really an in-depth study of a man who tried desperately to hide (and in some ways didn't try to hide) behind his famous work. It is biography as collage, and provides great insight into Salinger's complex psyche.
Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson. Johnson's masterfully written collection of stories is the bible for all MFA fiction students because of the way it develops a single character across its various short pieces. The protagonist's drug-addled brain allows the writing to ascend to the ecstatic.
1 more @ source. What are you reading ONTD?