Monday, December 31, 1973

Thomas Pynchon's Gravity’s Rainbow published this year

First posted 6/17/2020; last updated 7/6/2020.

Gravity’s Rainbow

Thomas Pynchon

First Publication: 1973


Category: fiction – postmodern epic


Sales: ?

Accolades:

About the Book:

“Considered by many critics to be one of the greatest American novels ever written,” WKGravity's Rainbow is a postmodern epic, a work as exhaustively significant to the second half of the twentieth century as Joyce's Ulysses was to the first.” AZ “Lengthy, complex, and featuring a large cast of characters,” WK “its sprawling, encyclopedic narrative and penetrating analysis of the impact of technology on society make it an intellectual tour de force.” AZ

“The narrative is set primarily in Europe at the end of World War II, and centers on the design, production and dispatch of V-2 rockets by the German military. In particular, it features the quest undertaken by several characters to uncover the secret of a mysterious device named the ‘Schwarzger√§t’ (‘black device’), slated to be installed in a rocket with the serial number ‘00000.’” WK

The book was selected for the 1974 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction by a three-member jury, but rejected by the 14-member board, who described the novel as “‘unreadable,’ ‘turgid,’ ‘overwritten,’ and in parts ‘obscene.’” NY No Pulitzer Prize was awarded for fiction that year.


Resources and Related Links:

Friday, October 19, 1973

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Published 20 Years Ago Today

Updated 7/6/2020.

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

First Publication: October 19, 1953


Category: dystopian novel


Sales: ?

Accolades:

  • American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature
  • Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal
  • Hugo Award – one of only five “Retro” awards ever given
  • Prometheus ‘Hall of Fame’ Award
About the Book:

Fahrenheit 451 “presents a future American society where books are outlawed and ‘firemen’ burn any that are found.” WK Bradbury has said he wrote the book because of concerns of book burning as a means of censorship, but that it was also meant as a commentary on “how television reduces knowledge to factoids and destroys interest in reading.” LC “The book’s tagline explains the title: ‘Fahrenheit 451 – the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.’” WK

Guy Montag is a fireman in a world where his job is to start fires instead of putting them out. His job is to destroy books. He never questions his work until he “meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.” AZ

Montag “becomes disillusioned with the role of censoring works and destroying knowledge, eventually quitting his job and joining a resistance group who memorize and share the world's greatest literary and cultural works.” WK “He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.” AZ

The story has been adapted into film (1966), stage play (1979), a BBC Radio dramatization (1982), video game (1984), and HBO television film (2018). WK


Resources and Related Links:

In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our April 2019 book.