Do you not think Baudelaire influenced the Beat generation? Isn't knowing his poetry important to understanding a few American contingent details?
Karen, why the hell are you asking me this question?
Cuz I like to ask questions that interest me and cuz you said, "a reader through reading the literature of your own culture because it teaches you the importance of knowing the culturally contingent details." and it made me think. Also, you shouldn't swear. Your rant about obsession and tastes is also interesting. Jess also made note of the skimming vs expertise aspect. I wouldn't say I skim. When I get interested in an author I read all or at least 4 or 5 works by him/her. And I also wonder if not having internet, much in the way of television (cable did not hit my home until well into my 20s) and not being an excessive film buff, left me (and my generation) more time to read heaps. Although, one of my daughters has always read heaps, now the other reads a lot more than she used to.
Are there not a good deal of European authors on my list?
Yes, but no young ones. Your inclusion of Wallace, Eggers, Palahniuk and Ellis also made me think =]
Pico Iyer's The Global Soul is an interesting read.
a few reasons explaining why dreww's list includes those authors and why that's fine and shouldn't be read into very much:
-your tastes evolved a couple decades before ours (sorry if i'm assuming you're older than you are!) and emphases on canonized literature were different, and some contemporary authors weren't even writing.
-young men and young women definitely differ in what they read. there's a lot of overlap, but boys read more male authors and girls read more female authors, for example. i think girls may read more relatively obscure (compared to the canonized heavy hitters) authors because so many of the big, worshipped novels have male protagonists they are less likely to relate to, so they branch out more earlier. that's just a theory.
-it sounds like your reading habits and consumption were way ahead of the curve for people your age.
-internet was less developed and television was less prominent in your life.
i think you're anomalous (not a bad thing) or at least incredibly different from 2000s and 2010s budding young american literature readers for a lot of reasons, but i don't know why you're so bent on creating a standard out of your experiences and tastes, or how that justifies your subtle criticisms and judgments on why we are one way and you were another way, like we're doing it wrong.