Post-Modern Twee Literature, The “Josh Cohen of the McSweeney’s set,” and Big Being Beautiful

Posted by Jason Diamond

I’m nearly 600 pages into the book that Marc Tracy at Tablet called  “the Josh Cohen of the McSweeney’s set,” Adam Levin’s The Instructions.   At the same time, I’m peeling open Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (which I think the NY Times likes.  Not totally sure.)  I’m not quite sure if it’s good for my mental state to read two large books at the same time, but I’m willing to find out.

I decided to undertake both these books a few days before I read an essay at The Millions about big books — after I found myself looking at 4 different books that I’ve read or wanted to read that came out this year. I began to wonder to myself, “why is big so in right now?”

Anybody have any answers of their own that they’d like to share?


  1. they needed something to compete with franzen’s book. & his ego. & for someone to write ‘big book’ trend stories.
    also, there are endless pages in a kindle, or so i’ve heard.

  2. Conspicuous literary cachet — Infinite Jest, Gravity’s Rainbow, Ulysses, War and Peace, etc.