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It's a good, interesting list. #1 will surprise you (hint: it's not by Bellow, Algren, Hemon, Hecht, Sinclair, Norris, or Wright). I'll confess to not having finished it, though it has less to do with the book's literary quality than my reading habits, which involves starting books, dropping them, and coming back later; I think I picked up Gravity's Rainbow three times before it clicked. If you want to start out with something more digestible from its author, you might try Relocations of the Spirit, which is tough to buy but is in lots of CPL branches.