by Janice Rowley
Not everyone cares whether a book or an author can lay claim to a Pulitzer. After all, there have only been ninety-four awards presented for Fiction/Novel in the past 103 years, and there were many excellent books published in each of those years. In addition, I doubt I’m the only reader who has questioned the merit of certain recipients—I’m not naming names here. On www.pulitzer.org there is a Frequently Asked Questions page. I found one question to
be particularly explanatory:
“What are the criteria for the judging of The Pulitzer Prizes?
There are no set criteria for the judging of the Prizes. The definitions of each category … are the only guidelines. It is left up to the Nominating Juries and The Pulitzer Prize Board to determine exactly what makes a work ‘distinguished.’”
Curiosity got the better of me, and I did what I usually do—created a list. I took that list of the ninety-four books (represented by ninety authors) and took it to the Oakmont Village Library for a treasure hunt. I found thirty of the books on the list. That’s a pretty good start for anyone wanting to make this a reading project. Since the library operates on the honor system, there may be many more in the community, sitting on nightstands and coffee tables to be returned in due time.
The earliest published Pulitzer-awarded novel I found on the shelves is Edith Wharton’s, The Age of Innocence (1921) and the latest is The Overstory by Richard Powers (2019). I recommend each.
My confession is that I have only read nineteen of the ninety-four. I have four additional ones on my bookshelf, two of which are not in the library so I will put those on the top of my list to read so I can donate them for you to read—Empire Falls by Richard Russo and Toni Morrison’s Beloved. Keep an eye out for these coming attractions.
BTW: I will post the list in the library for your reference. I don’t think I’ll tell you where.
You might find a unique treasure along the way.
Library Hours 6AM-9PM in the Central Activities Center (CAC)