Don't get all the Chabon hate. Really enjoyed all the Chabon I've read.
Fireflygrave - you'd like Junot Diaz, I reckon, I linked to a short story of his on Hara, check it out.
I reading Midnight's Children at the moment and the prose is so overly whimsical, fluid and contrived that I'm basically wanting to burn the fucking thing. It's getting in the way of following the pretty poor excuse for a narrative (which, at 150 pages in has been Grandad meets Gradmum, has kids, Mum has me - 150 pages and that's what I've fucking read).
Yeah, What is the What was pretty unpretentious. I mostly liked Eggers because rather than being clever and wanting your return wink/hat tip he came across as self-consciously pretentious in a "I know you know I know I'm trying to be clever, so let's both enjoy how clever we are" way. That and the "I made so much money off this book that if you mail me a letter I'll send you some" made it seem like he was trying to build a rapport with the reader rather than show off.
If you want to give another historical fiction piece a shot and want to keep with the bird titles, The Painted Bird by Kosinski was absurd and entertaining and disgusting and sad and a whole bunch of other adjectives.
Just in response to the general discussion about who is affected and/or irritating...
Chabon is wonderful, not just because his writing is so fluid but because he's totally at ease between genres and has no problem with being thought of a 'fantasy' or 'science fiction' writer as well as a mainstream one - The Yiddish Policemen's Union won several SF prizes as well as attracting mainstream critical praise. Jonathan Lethem is similar - they both grew up with comics and SF and it's mixed up in a lot of their work.
Eco can try too hard but I think he's actually underrated as a novelist. His last one, The Prague Cemetery managed to be very popular as well as being really rather daring in its subject matter - this is a novel about the shadowy man who supposedly wrote The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
Dave Eggers attracts a lot of criticism, some of which is simply annoyance at his ubiquity and some jealousy, I think. I mean the guy is almost too good to be true in terms of his support for other writers, for social issues etc. The problem is sometimes he seems to know it. However, at his best, he's a very strong, even important writer - What is the What is excellent, and The Circle is flawed but it's both readable and one of the first books to really get to grips with the politics of Google / Facebook / Apple in a fictional form. And McSweeney's continues to be a pretty significant force in publishing.
Rushdie is full of himself and I've not really enjoyed any of his books hugely. He can write though. There's passages in all of his novels you'd want to give to students as examples. But that's not really enough to carry the burden of entire books.
Finally, Foer is awful. Just dreadful. As a public person and a writer.