by David Lodge
Aaron Swartz raved over this book's sequel, Small World . Since his 2006 booklist led me to Thomas Geoghegan's wonderful Which Side Are You On?, I read this year's list with special care, and followed Swartz's suggestion to begin with the first book in the series.
A whimsical 1975 novel about two English professors who exchange their chairs for a semester. One chair is at the University of Rummidge, somewhere in the Midlands; the green tile on the English building suggests Lincoln. The other chair is at Berkeley — I mean Euphoria State, which is located across the Bay from the city of Esseph. It's the sixties, and this book was probably sexier (and more shocking) when it was new, but it's a funny little piece and it certainly has its moments.
Update: I'm told that the green tiles are a red herring: Rummidge is Birmingham.