17. The Broom of the System (1987)
Author: David Foster Wallace
Wallace described the inspiration for The Broom of the System as semi-autobiographical. He called the book a "tale of a sensitive young WASP who's just had this midlife crisis that's moved him from coldly cerebral analytic math to a coldly cerebral take on fiction." Wallace's focus was on mathematics and philosophy as an undergraduate, but then he opted to take a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona afterwards.
He would go on to publish a number of works, perhaps most notably Infinite Jest. Wallace's description of Broom as the working out of a "midlife crisis" proved prophetic. He took is own life after succumbing to deep depression at the age of 46.