WATCH: This modern rock star has a surprising — and nerdy — obsession

Literary, post-modern sci-fi is very hip right now, Carl Newman argues, and shares some of his favorite authors

By Amanda Marcotte

Senior Writer

Published April 8, 2017 2:00AM (EDT)

Carl Newman of The New Pornographers stopped by Salon to talk about his band’s new album, “Whiteout Conditions”, with host Amanda Marcotte, but the conversation turned towards what kinds of books Newman, an avid reader, has been into lately.

“I feel I know a lot more about writers, because there was a period awhile back, I think for about two and a half years, I averaged about a book a week,” Newman explained. “I just got it in my head, I’m just gonna 52 books this year. And some of them would take three weeks, if they were really long, and some would only take a day or two, if they were Kurt Vonnegut or Italo Calvino.”

“It was almost all 20th century post-modern fiction, like Donald Barthelme or John Hawkes, people like that. I’m actually reading ‘Bone Clocks’ by David Mitchell,” he continued. “He is a very intelligent, surreal, sort of post-modern writer. He’s a writer you’d throw in with Haruki Murakami, the sort of new sci-fi magical realists, whatever you want to call them.”

“It’s the stuff I totally love to read. I’ve just decided that’s all I read now, like a weird, post-modern, dystopian sci-fi,” Newman said.

When asked by Marcotte why that particular genre was so appealing right now, Newman argued that it’s very much a literary trend.

“People who are thought of as literary fiction have crossed over into literary fiction. You have someone like Jonathan Lethem, who always talks about how Philip K. Dick is his favorite writer,” Newman said. “He took that influence and made it cross over into literary, things like ‘Fortress of Solitude’.”

By Amanda Marcotte

Amanda Marcotte is a senior politics writer at Salon and the author of "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself." Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte and sign up for her biweekly politics newsletter, Standing Room Only.

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