You’re Fired! (from the Canon)

by thiszine

Earlier this month, Second Pass published a list of 10 books they want fired from the canon.


Yikes! This list is no joke! While I haven’t read all of the books included, I have read a book by almost all of the authors on it and strongly disagree with at least two of the selections.


Below is the list. To find detailed (though occasionally maddening) reasons behind why these particular books should be “fired” you’ll have to read the article.


First, I’m going to defend two of the books on this list. Second, I’m going to create my own. Finally, I invite you to create your own list of books you think should be drop-kicked from the canon… and maybe a reason or two why.


The Second Pass “Fired From the Canon” List

-White Noise by Don DeLillo
-Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner
-One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
-The Road by Cormac McCarthy
-The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence
-On the Road by Jack Kerouac
-The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen
-The USA Trilogy by John Dos Passos
-Jacob’s Room by Virginia Woolf
-A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


Photo: Barnes & Noble

Photo: Barnes & Noble

In Defense of White Noise and Absalom, Absalom
While White Noise may not be DeLillo’s best work (that honor, in my opinion, goes to either The Names or Underworld), it is a post-modern warning bell about the path our suburbanized, commodified culture is headed down, at least in the world of white, educated affluence. White Noise is a fast-paced indoctrination of our culture but it is not a “protest piece” the way one might consider an August Wilson play. It’s also a moving story about a family’s decline in a world of faceless technology and minimal interactions. There are very few novelists whose work I read in near entirety and DeLillo is one of them. It’s been at least seven years since I first read White Noise and I’m thinking now might be a good time to return to it.




William Faulkner can be a challenge to read, yes, and Absalom, Absalom especially so, but this prequel to The Sound and the Fury was hot long before the idea of prequels was conceived by Lucasfilms as a lucrative money making venture. In Absalom, Absalom the reader is granted knowledge of the basic premise of the story from the very beginning. The joy of continuing to read is both to discover how the story unravels and how it is told and re-told by various characters. For close readers of Faulkner’s work, the familiarity with many of the lives adds the tension of dramatic irony to a story about family, birthright, heritage, and blood lines. Faulkner himself thought Absalom, Absalom was his masterpiece.


Tomorrow: What 10 books would we fire from the canon? (Ha! Pun intended!)



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