Postmodern Sampler Platter


All of these books play with words, meaning, narrative, and history.
Don't be scared, dive down the rabbit hole...
You may discover you like what you find!


Staff Pick Logo
Slaughterhouse-Five: Or the Children's Crusade, a Duty-Dance with Death Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385333849
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Delta - January 11th, 1999

After serving in World War II, witnessing the firebombing of Dresden, and being taken as a POW, Billy Pilgrim becomes "unstuck in time."To say more would ruin the experience of traveling with Billy through the times and spaces of his life.Not strictly sci-fi, as most people understand it, this relatively short book is much more than the sum of its parts. 

If on a Winter's Night a Traveler Cover Image
ISBN: 9780156439619
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Mariner Books - October 20th, 1982

"If on a Winter's Night a Traveler" turns out to be not one novel but ten, each with a different plot, style, ambience, and author, and each interrupted at a moment of suspense. Together they form a labyrinth of literatures, known and unknown, alive and extinct, through which two readers, a male and a female, pursue both the story lines that intrigue them and one another.

White Noise Cover Image
By Don Delillo, Richard Powers (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780143105985
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Books - December 29th, 2009

Winner of the National Book Award, "White Noise" tells the story of Jack Gladney, his fourth wife, Babette, and four ultramodern offspring as they navigate the rocky passages of family life to the background babble of brand-name consumerism. When an industrial accident unleashes an "airborne toxic event," a lethal black chemical cloud floats over their lives. The menacing cloud is a more urgent and visible version of the "white noise" engulfing the Gladneys-radio transmissions, sirens, microwaves, ultrasonic appliances, and TV murmurings-pulsing with life, yet suggesting something ominous. 

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The Crying of Lot 49 Cover Image
ISBN: 9780060913076
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Perennial - October 2006

Oedipa Mass finds herself in quite a predicament, with the passing of her ex-boyfriend Pierce Inverarity, a real estate developer. Following the threads of his investments leads the entire tapestry of her life to unravel, with all signs seamingly pointing to W.A.S.T.E., an organization waiting for the return of a pre-industrial postal service If it sounds absolutely insane, it is, but the colorful--to put it lightly--cast of characters and the symbolism of each and every incident make the misadventures of Oedipa an entertaining read.

Catch-22 Cover Image
By Joseph Heller, Christopher Buckley (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781451626650
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 5th, 2011

Set in Italy during World War II, this is the story of the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero who is furious because thousands of people he has never met are trying to kill him. But his real problem is not the enemy—it is his own army, which keeps increasing the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempt to excuse himself from the perilous missions he’s assigned, he’ll be in violation of Catch-22, a hilariously sinister bureaucratic rule: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes a formal request to be removed from duty, he is proven sane and therefore ineligible to be relieved. 

Beloved Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400033416
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - June 8th, 2004

Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. Sethe, its protagonist, was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. And Sethe's new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved. Filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope, Beloved" "is a towering achievement.

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Pale Fire Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679723424
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - April 23rd, 1989

A 999-line poem is quickly overtaken by an insane professor's annotations claiming to be king of the Eastern European country of "Zembla." This is a murder mystery wrapped in an academic satire, clothed in an adventure story, told in Nabokov's inimitable prose. 

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Maus: A Survivor's Tale Cover Image
ISBN: 9780394747231
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Pantheon Books - August 12th, 1986

A graphic novel about the holocaust. Told through anthropomorphic animals. Yes, you read that right.
Cartoonist Art Spiegelman, the author of Maus, revisits the time his grandfather spent in the concentration camps, and along the way comes to terms with both personal and political history. For any naysayers still out there, this is absolutely stunning proof that comics can tell real, moving stories in ways a novel can't.

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Infinite Jest Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316066525
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - November 13th, 2006

A sprawling tragicomic postmodern masterpice that captures the sadness and hope of entertainment and addiction within the USA. There are three main focuses: an elite boston tennis academy, down the hill from them is a rehab house, and north, in Canada, are terrorists attempting to locate the titular videotape, which if watched renders the watcher catatonic. If this sounds zany, well, it is, but it is also a work of genius with a lot to say about how we live. Somehow it's more than the sum of its 1000+ pages.

All of this is conveyed in language that sounds as though it was channeled from the future. The most influential novel of the past 25 years or so, the innovation and language has yet to be surpassed.