Sean Wilsey, author of the memoir Oh the Glory of It All, recommends Thomas Pynchon’s 1963 novel, V..
When I read it I was on a boat, docked at the 79th Street Boat Basin in New York City’s Riverside Park. Suddenly the characters in the book walked down to that exact spot. I stayed up all night reading, and proceeded to read everything Pynchon had written. V. taught me more about the versatility and playfulness of language than any other book. It also contains the single most graphic and hilarious description of a nose job in all of literature — the comic cosmetic-surgery equivalent of Kafka’s description of an execution machine. Pynchon’s the man!