The list author says: "Most of the novels on this list have something to do with literacy and technology--in some cases, more one than the other. In a few cases, the connection is quite loose. In most cases there's an undercurrent of literary theory and/or ideas about media effects. But most of these novels are quite readable without taking any of that into account."
"This action/mystery/speculative fiction novel is great for English geeks who get literary jokes, but it's not necessary to be one to enjoy the book. The idea is that Thursday Next, the heroine, is a governmental Literary Detective in a slightly alternative universe in 1980s Britain."
"In my mind, the most delightful part of this mystery about a highly educated high school student is the way the narrator uses citations and footnotes to (hyper)contextualize her ideas in highly imaginative ways."
"In this dystopian (think the opposite of utopian) novel, a highly print-literate society suffers the loss of its alphabet (and correspondingly its meaning) bit by bit. Young Adult novel, so it's a very fast read."
"Another dystopian novel, but in this one the characters are ultra-technologized--the people in the society have installed computers inside their bodies to make life easier, but discover some unintended consequences. Another easy-reading but powerful YA novel."
"This regrettably out-of-print novel does a great job of what might happen if we entrusted the running of our culture to robots who ultimately break down. The illegality of reading is a big part of the book."
"This time-travel romantic comedy imagines what would happen if Oxford historians could travel back in time to verify their knowledge of the world--and get time lag. Interesting twist on the idea of "reading the past.""
"I don't really like this classic dystopian novel about book censorship (I like some of the others better) but it's the standard so here it is. It is also pretty impressive that it was written before the age of television and such, considering some of the technology it predicts."
"Again, it's not my favorite dystopian novel (the technology takes over to an absurd point), but it's fascinating to think of a world where novels must be written to technologized marketing specifications (that part's sort of scary and a bit close to real, if exaggerated)."