Pondering the Pulitzer

Week One: Wrap Up

OK: here’s the thing.  We (that being me) encountered a few hiccups this week.  Some were technical, some were personal, some were the result of trying to do too much without enough organization.  Be patient with me.  I’m going to do this as efficiently as I can, and as quickly as I can, but I want to give you worth-while posts.  So we all have to agree it’s OK to take longer than my over-zealous mind thinks we will.

This particular weekly wrap up was an idea I had to post on Sundays.  Kind of a: “let’s revisit and reconvene.”  However, I forgot to finish this before I unexpectedly left town briefly.  So here, on Monday, we’re going to talk about last week.  As I’ve been told: ain’t nothin’ perfect in this world anyway…right?

Really, week one was very exciting.  It’s great to start a new project, to have a new thought.  We started imagining: what is it that makes a Pulitzer winner?  That’s very ambitious.  We have more than 90 years of reading to get through until we figure it out.

So far, I’ve decided on a few common factors.  We want the books to be timeless and approachable.  I suppose I forgot to talk about more obvious things: the book should be interesting, right?  Should be engaging, I suppose.  I would call both His Family and The Magnificent Ambersons interesting and engaging.  The text should probably also deal with the world around them, yes?  Don’t we think the books should deal with their time at hand?  I’m sure there are some that don’t.  But if it doesn’t take place at the same time as time written, does it still deal with the same societal issues?  Even His Family takes place three and four years before published.  And while that doesn’t seem like much, it is a huge difference.  It’s the difference between never having the whole (seeming) world at war, and currently watching the whole world be at war.

And like I said, the difference between tone of His Family and The Magnificent Ambersons is a bit surprising.  I don’t think this should be surprising.  Why do I think just because they’re closely written in time they should be anything alike?  Are two books written in 2011 guaranteed to be similar?  Of course not.  And we definitely do not want it that way.  We would give up reading if it were this way.  (Well, I might not.  But I would complain about it…probably constantly.  See, aren’t we relieved?)  Let’s see what else we can find.  So far, the books have been good, the thoughts have been good.  Let’s continue.

I am grateful (and a little astonished) at how many people seem to be liking and reading this.  Thank you, truly.  I hope you stay with me.  I hope I’m doing justice to both these books and your time.  I’m looking forward to this week.  We’ll finish our first Tarkington experience, talk about the first year sans Pulitzer for Novel, and get on to the wonderful Edith Wharton.  If I am as ambitious as I wish to be, we might get to Tarkington Round 2 by the weekend.

If you want to talk to me about my Pulitzer reading (or anything really), you can contact me at LauraPondersthePulitzer@gmail.com or twitter ( @l_hallman )

Happy reading, bookworms!

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