Generation A by Douglas Coupland
I love Douglas Coupland. I have since my (old boy)friend told me to read Generation X because "the dude who wrote that writes like you speak." Have you read Generation X? No? I'm sorry, I can't be friends with you anymore.
Ok - so here's why I love Coupland (and this book) - in a numbered list:
1: he's not afraid to give one of the main characters Tourette's and then put us inside her head.
2: and then he puts us inside the heads of the other main characters so we can see how they react.
3: he gives characters "normal" jobs (Harj works in an Abercrombie and Fitch call center in Sri Lanka) and then he makes them LOVE them.
4: he uses healthy/healthful correctly.
5: he takes a concept like "the bees are dying" and speculates about what happens when they've been gone for half a decade and then 5 unrelated people get stung.
6: he goes there. The things the rest of us think about for half a second and then dismissed are fleshed out into actual plot points of brilliance. (example: brain masturbation.)
7: rapier wit and keen perception and a complete disregard for maybe offending some people (or groups of people.)
8: he keeps giving and giving and then just when you think "aaahhh....I see where you're going" he opens a conversation that wasn't on your radar.
9: he commands the English language in a way that is modern but not trendy and will therefore still be relevant decades from now.
10: he's just awesome. Need proof? Have you read Generation X? Jpod? Shampoo Planet? No? What are you waiting for?
You can start anywhere, really. But this is the newest and so it is fresh. Falling into a Coupland hold wouldn't be a bad thing. Operators are standing by!