So, the first college class I really got into was Multicultural American Literature. Now, I know that's a loaded name for the class, but the reason I was interested had to do with the fact that, before this one, I had taken the same English/Literature class for three years (11th Grade, 12th Grade, ENG 101 & 102). With some notable exceptions (like Twain & Hurston), I was getting awful bored of five paragraph essays about Shakespeare and overrated 'coming of age novels' by whiny people trying to figure out their place in the world. (I was just such a person, after all, and I didn't need to hear more about it.)
Multicultural American Literature was the first time I really felt like I was reading, for a consistent amount of time, books written by adults. I cannot tell you how refreshing this was.
But, I know how some of our more academic loyalist readers revere so much of the writing I consider wasted space, so my suggestion is not to 'do away with the canon.' I simply want to add to it. My suggestion is a new multicultural class: American Literature X, and I'm looking for suggestions as to what the reading list needs to be.
Parameters: I'm thinking US or North American writers from the last 50 years, whose books will have either lasting effects on American literature or thought, or that take a snapshot of a part of the tumultuous story that has been America since 1941.
My first three suggestions:
Without Remorse, by Tom Clancy
The Godfather, by Mario Puzo
The Essential Calvin & Hobbes, by Bill Waterson
And if you don't think Calvin & Hobbes is American Literature, then...