Sunday, August 7, 2011

30 More Days Book Challenge: Day 4

You know what's fun?  Seeing what sort of random key words on the Google lead people to this delightful little blog.  You might think that, being mostly based on books, this blog is visited by a modern intelligentsia of bookish folk.  You would be wrong.  Yesterday, for example, Googlers found us with key word searches like "liz poo poo blog hot adventures" and "God's little designer blog by Gianna."  I'm not making these up.

Staying classy, here's Day 4: Favorite Award Winners


I don’t know what is worse, looking at lists like this and seeing how few you’ve read or how few you’ve liked. What makes me more of an idiot? [...No comment.] In any case, here are some of my favorite winners and my top dog for fiction and non-fiction.


Some of my favorite titles include The Road, Interpreter of Maladies, The Hours, To Kill a Mockingbird, Middlesex, The Known World, The Looming Tower, and The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

But my favorite non-fiction Pulitzer winner is A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power (2003). Power argues that American policy makers have been consistently slow to condemn mass atrocities or even name them as genocide (they avoid the term genocide at all costs). It is a stomach-churning but eye-opening read.

My favorite fiction winner is no less stomach-churning: Beloved by Toni Morrison. I wrote about this book not too long ago as the book I read the most number of times. It’s a difficult read for several reasons, but it’s worth the trip. “Sixty Million and More” TM

National Book Award

Some NBA favorites include Invisible Man, Life of Emily Dickinson, Sophie’s Choice, The Color Purple, White Noise, All the Pretty Horses, Waiting, Slaves in the Family, An American Requiem, Middle Passage, Them by Joyce Carol Oates, and a book I just love, Going after Cacciato by Tim O’Brien.

My favorite winner– again not a surprise--is The Complete Stories of Flannery O’Connor (1972). What I love about O’Connor (besides being easy on the eyes) is you can read her again and again and find new things to love. She never gets old to me. When I am in a reading rut – this is my go to book.



I've read a lot of these winners, and enjoyed even more of the Pulitzer finalists for each year.  From the winners list, though, two novels jump out at me: The Hours by Michael Cunningham and The Shipping News by Annie Proulx.  One novel is framed around the life of one of my favorite authors and my favorite novel by that author (Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway), and the other is set in my country crush, Canada.  Both deal with family discord and coming to terms with tragedy and the errors made in the past by family.  Both contain characters involved with writing.  Both novels are the defining works by their authors.  These are books that, given the time, I would reread in the hope that their magic lingers for multiple trips through their pages.

National Book Award

A true dark horse (pun intended) winner of the NBA, last year's winner Lord of Misrule is OUTSTANDING.  I was late in reading this novel about a down-on-its-luck horse track in West Virginia because I had to read a bunch of books for work and the hardcover publisher wasn't a Random House entity.  Luckily for me, Vintage, one of the paperback lines for RH, snagged the paperback rights and I had an excuse to dip into Jaimy Gordon's terrific book under the guise of sales research.  Have I mentioned that it's a great book?  Lord of Misrule is the name of a horse, once a champion but crippled and semi-retired.  Like the horse, the track and individuals working the stables have seen better days.  With one last race, the horse and the people of the track hope for one more moment of glory. 

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