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Hari Kunzru's Bookshelf: Researching the Revolution


I wrote last week about My Revolutions, Hari Kunzru's new novel, which is my January pick for our Significant Seven. And when poking around to learn more about him and the book, I came across his bare-bones home page, which features a larger version of the lovely bookshelf photo above, filled with what must have been his research materials for My Revolutions. I'm always fascinated by the process of research in writing fiction (how much to do it, when to stop and let imagination take over, etc.), but I nearly always despise those lengthy acknowledgments that often appear these days at the end (or worse, the beginning) of novels, explaining all the research materials used and thanking all those involved. It breaks the spell of the tale. My Revolutions does include such a note at the end, but it's written with some style and manages to still leave a great deal of mystery, so I didn't mind it. But even better is to see this jumbled shelf, raw and unexplained, as a hint of the sourcework that went into the story: the mystery of creation is for me not only retained, but deepened. And so in the spirit of the Omnivoracious annotated bookshelf, a partial listing of the books I can find in the photo (a treasure trove of Leftist theory and Sixties history) appears after the jump. --Tom


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I'm not a big fan of lengthy acknowledgments in novels, either, but you can hardly blame authors for doing it in this age of google (see: Cassie Edwards). Better to be upfront about your sources than let your fans (or enemies) discover them on their own.

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