Three potential starting points for reading Thomas Pynchon

Yesterday was Pynchon’s 80th birthday. I’ve read all his books, some a few times, except Against the Day. I started it, got about 200 pages in, didn’t take it with me on a trip and never picked it up again. I should go back to it. All his books are worth the trouble, but Mason & Dixon is an especially wonderful book for anyone interested in geography…

Biblioklept

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Today is Pynchon in Public Day, so here are three books that I think may make good entry points for those interested in, but perhaps unnecessarily daunted by, Thomas Pynchon. My intuition is that many readers’ first experiences reading Pynchon may have been like mine: I read The Crying of Lot 49 as a college assignment, found it bewildering and baffling, and despite understanding almost none of it, I then attempted Gravity’s Rainbow (the key word is attempted (failed will also do in a pinch)).

Many readers start with The Crying of Lot 49 because it’s short. While I like the novel (I wrote about it here), it’s also extraordinarily dense, a box so crammed with jokes and japes that some fail to spring out at full force. Lot 49 is a much better reading experience after you’ve read more of Pynchon.

Lots of readers new to…

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