Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Magnificent Ambersons...Tarkington's first amazing prize-winner

Well folks, it's been a while since I've posted anything of substance on here.

The truth is, I haven't had much to say. I've had a hell of a time trying to locate the first book on the list. The thought didn't occur to me that I wouldn't be able to find any of the books...they ARE Pulitzer Prize winners, right?

So since March I've been treading my way through the second book on the list, Booth Tarkington's The Magnificent Ambersons. And when I say "treading", I mean it. It's May and I'm still only halfway through. Everything that I've read about Tarkington raves about him (or her...I'm not sure, is Booth a male or female name?) and I haven't been able to figure that out yet.

The language that Tarkington uses is beautiful. It's not one of those oh-my-gosh-i-cant-wait-to-get-through-this-paragraph description. He's good. Just not as amazing as I expected. I keep waiting for that moment in the book where somebody thought, "Wow, this thing deserves some type of award! Pulitzer it is!," but so far, I'm confused.

I guess I'll just have to get to the end to figure it out. If the library will even let me renew more times than I have already...that reminds me. When is it due back?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"I Need to Read"

It is long. Here is the abridged version:

I love to read. I have loved to read since I was a kid. When I was in elementary school, I used to get in trouble for reading chapter books during class.

I love to spend the first 30 minutes after buying a small electronic device reading its manual.

I read a particularly fascinating article in Highlights magazine not too long ago. And the magazine that AARP puts out once had a very insightful article on how to save money while traveling.

Sometimes, I like to pretend I'm the main character in a novel I'm reading and that I have their special powers, or their cool clothes or I live in their city or their time period. I love any kind of quick-read book by Meg Cabot or Helen Fielding but I also love the kind of resounding literature that Mark Twain and J.D. Salinger wrote. William Shakespears and Tennessee Williams' plays also top my list of favorite reads.

If you go to a movie with me and I see that the movie was based on a book, you better believe I'm going to the library after that movie and checking out the book.

I am usually the first person my friends will ask about current events because they think I probably read an article about something somewhere. They're usually right.

I recently checked out four books from the library without considering when I would have time to read them. In order to finish them all and turn them back in on time, I've left one at home, one in my book bag, one at work and I keep one in my car for lengthy stoplights. That way, I'll always have something to read. And that's how I like it.

That part about reading the book in the car? I really do that. :)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Reading podcast

I just remembered that I wrote and recorded a podcast for my feature writing class about how much I love to read. I got an "A" on it and my professor said she liked it.

I shall post it when I am not feeling lazy and actually am within arm's length of my jump drive.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I just checked out The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington from the library and am awaiting His Family by Ernest Poole. I want to read them all in chronological order to get the full effect.

Prize-winning list

From I have only read two of them:

2009 Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)

2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Books)

2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Alfred A. Knopf)

2006 March by Geraldine Brooks (Viking)

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar)

2004 The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Amistad/ HarperCollins)

2003 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar)

2002 Empire Falls by Richard Russo (Alfred A. Knopf)

2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Random House)

2000 Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin)

1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

1998 American Pastoral by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin)

1997 Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser (Crown)

1996 Independence Day by Richard Ford (Alfred A. Knopf)

1995 The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Viking)

1994 The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Charles Scribner's Sons)

A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler (Henry Holt)

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (Alfred A. Knopf)

Rabbit At Rest by John Updike (Alfred A. Knopf)

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (Farrar)

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (Alfred A. Knopf)

Beloved by Toni Morrison (Alfred A. Knopf)

A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (Alfred A. Knopf)

Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster)

Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie (Random House)

Ironweed by William Kennedy (Viking)

The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Harcourt Brace)

Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike (Knopf)

A Confederacy of Dunces by the late John Kennedy Toole (a posthumous publication)
(Louisiana State U. Press)

The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer (Little)

The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever (Knopf)

Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson (Atlantic Monthly Press)

(No Award)

Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow (Viking)

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (McKay)

(No Award)

The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty (Random)

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (Doubleday)

(No Award)

Collected Stories by Jean Stafford (Farrar)

House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday (Harper)

The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (Random)

The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (Farrar)

Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter (Harcourt)

The Keepers Of The House by Shirley Ann Grau (Random)

(No Award)

The Reivers by William Faulkner (Random)

The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor (Little)

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Lippincott)

Advise and Consent by Allen Drury (Doubleday)

The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor (Doubleday)

A Death In The Family by the late James Agee (a posthumous publication) (McDowell, Obolensky)

(No Award)

Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor (World)

A Fable by William Faulkner (Random)

(No Award)

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)

The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (Doubleday)

The Town by Conrad Richter (Knopf)

The Way West by A. B. Guthrie (Sloane)

Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens (Harcourt)

Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener (Macmillan)

1947 All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren (Harcourt)

1946 (No Award)

A Bell for Adano by John Hersey (Knopf)

Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin (Harper)

Dragon's Teeth by Upton Sinclair (Viking)

In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow (Harcourt)

(No Award)

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (Viking)

The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings (Scribner)

The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand (Little)

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (Macmillan)

Honey in the Horn by Harold L. Davis (Harper)

Now in November by Josephine Winslow Johnson (Simon & Schuster)

Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller (Harper)

The Store by T. S. Stribling (Doubleday)

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck (John Day)

Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes (Houghton)

Laughing Boy by Oliver Lafarge (Houghton)

Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin (Bobbs)

The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder (Boni)

Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield (Stokes)

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis (Harcourt)

So Big by Edna Ferber (Doubleday)

The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson (Harper)

One of Ours by Willa Cather (Knopf)

Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington (Doubleday)

The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton (Appleton)

(No Award)

The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington (Doubleday)

His Family by Ernest Poole (Macmillan)

(No Award)

A history of the Pulitzer Prize


In writing his 1904 will, which made provision for the establishment of the Pulitzer Prizes as an incentive to excellence, [Joseph] Pulitzer specified solely four awards in journalism, four in letters and drama, one for education, and four traveling scholarships. In letters, prizes were to go to an American novel, an original American play performed in New York, a book on the history of the United States, an American biography, and a history of public service by the press.

But, sensitive to the dynamic progression of his society, Pulitzer made provision for broad changes in the system of awards. He established an overseer advisory board and willed it "power in its discretion to suspend or to change any subject or subjects, substituting, however, others in their places, if in the judgment of the board such suspension, changes, or substitutions shall be conducive to the public good or rendered advisable by public necessities, or by reason of change of time." He also empowered the board to withhold any award where entries fell below its standards of excellence. The assignment of power to the board was such that it could also overrule the recommendations for awards made by the juries subsequently set up in each of the categories.

Since the inception of the prizes in 1917, the board, later renamed the Pulitzer Prize Board, has increased the number of awards to 21 and introduced poetry, music, and photography as subjects, while adhering to the spirit of the founder's will and its intent.

Nervous beginnings

Hello, all.

You may be wondering why I decided to take on the daunting task of reading all of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels.

It first started fall semester of '09. I took a feature writing class in which my teacher had us reading a lot of the prize-winning articles so I was spending a lot of time at While I love to read, it was kind of hard to find a lot of the articles past 2002 and I'm not incredibly interested in reading them anyways.

That's when I started getting curious about the prize-winning novels. I checked them out. They date back to 1917! I think I counted somewhere around 90 novels.

The thought to challenge myself and read them all didn't creep into my mind until later. Even then, I wasn't sure I wanted to do it. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I finally decided to do it!

I'm so nervous about this journey, and I think it might be a long one. But here goes! I think by the end of this, the winners for 2010 and 2011 might already be announced...