Sunday, August 31, 2014

Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction Reading Challenge

I have made a commitment to read all of the winners of the Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction.  Here is the list of those books along with my rating for each one:

(I have read 27/60)

2014 The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
2013 The Orphan Master's Son by Adam Johnson (Random House)

2012 No award

2011 A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan (Alfred A.. Knopf)(12/31/12)

2010 Tinkers by Paul Harding (Bellevue Literary Press)(5/21/12)

2009 Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (Random House)(11/17/09)

2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Books) (6/11/09)

2007 The Road by Cormac McCarthy (Alfred A. Knopf) (7/21/09)

2006 March by Geraldine Brooks (Viking) (11/12/12)

2005 Gilead by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar)(4/20/09)

2004 The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Amistad/ HarperCollins) (12/3/09)

2003 Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar) (4/20/09)

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

2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (Random House)(7/5/13)

2000 Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin)(2/21/13)

1999 The Hours by Michael Cunningham (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)(11/5/12)

1998 American Pastoral by Philip Roth (Houghton Mifflin)

1997 Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser (Crown)(5/30/14)

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

1995 The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields (Viking)(6/16/14)

1994 The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Charles Scribner's Sons)(4/30/13)

1993 A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler (Henry Holt)

1992 A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (Alfred A. Knopf)

1991 Rabbit At Rest by John Updike (Alfred A. Knopf)

1990 The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos (Farrar)

1989 Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler (Alfred A. Knopf)

1988 Beloved by Toni Morrison (Alfred A. Knopf) (8/13/08)

1987 A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor (Alfred A. Knopf)(7/26/14)

1986 Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry (Simon & Schuster)

1985 Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie (Random House)

1984 Ironweed by William Kennedy (Viking)(5/17/14)

1983 The Color Purple by Alice Walker (Harcourt Brace)(8/15/12)

1982 Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike (Knopf)

1981 A Confederacy of Dunces by the late John Kennedy Toole (a posthumous publication) (Louisiana State U. Press)(6/12/11)

1980 The Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer (Little)

1979 The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever (Knopf)

1978 Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson (Atlantic Monthly Press)

1977 (No Award)

1976 Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow (Viking)

1975 The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara (McKay)(10/24/13)

1974 (No Award)

1973 The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty (Random)

1972 Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner (Doubleday)

1971 (No Award)

1970 Collected Stories by Jean Stafford (Farrar)

1969 House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday (Harper)

1968 The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron (Random)(5/10/14)

1967 The Fixer by Bernard Malamud (Farrar)

1966 Collected Stories by Katherine Anne Porter (Harcourt)

1965 The Keepers Of The House by Shirley Ann Grau (Random)

1964 (No Award)

1963 The Reivers by William Faulkner (Random)(3/1/14)

1962 The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O'Connor (Little)

1961 To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (Lippincott)

1960 Advise and Consent by Allen Drury (Doubleday)

1959 The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor (Doubleday)

1958 A Death In The Family by the late James Agee (a posthumous publication) (McDowell, Obolensky)

1957 (No Award)

1956 Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor (World)(4/18/12)

1955 A Fable by William Faulkner (Random)

1954 (No Award)

1953 The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (Scribner)(8/12/12)

1952 The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk (Doubleday)

1951 The Town by Conrad Richter (Knopf)

1950 The Way West by A. B. Guthrie (Sloane)

1949 Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens (Harcourt)

1948 Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener (Macmillan)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Dirty Diplomacy by Craig Murray

If you are one of those Americans who believe we are a perfect country and the moral leaders of the world, then this book is not for you. On the other hand, if you want to get a better picture of why it is that most of the world sees us as a bully nation and some of the major corruption in our government, then you will want to read this one.

Craig Murray was the British Ambassador to Uzbekistan during the time that the U.S. declared the "War on Terror" and attacked Iraq. The U.S. became allied with Uzbekistan which was being led by a dictator, Karimov. His regime was infamous for torture...especially of Muslims and political dissidents. As Ambassador, Murray tried to expose the corruption in the government, but ran into constant opposition from his government and the U.S. because they needed the military base the U.S. had established in Uzbekistan for staging attacks in Iraq.

At the heart of this book is whether it is ever appropriate or useful to use torture as a means of getting government and military intelligence. I feel extremely strong about this, now, after reading this insightful book. I highly recommend the book, but be prepared to become disillusioned if you are a starry-eyed American.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Four Agreements:A Toltec Wisdom Book by Don Miguel Ruiz

An interesting book of philosophy on how to become truly happy in your life by living four principles: 1). Be impeccable with your word; 2). Don't take anything personally; 3). Don't make assumptions; and, 4). Always do your best. The author is a Toltec shaman.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Georges by Alexander Dumas

Georges is the first published novel by Alexander Dumas.I had never heard of this book until I was looking for a book for my Olympic Reading Challenge for the country of Mauritius. I was also unaware, until I started reading about this book that Dumas was actually a mulatto. The central concept in Georges is how mulattoes have been dealt with historically. Many interesting themes in the book...colonialism, prejudice, honor, etc. It has elements of swashbucklers and pirates, romance, heroism. It has been said that Dumas also began the development of some of his more famous characters (the Three Musketeers and the Count of Monte Cristo) within this novel. Georges was a very enjoyable read and interesting on so many level. Dumas was clearly a brilliant writer.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Keeper of the Night by Kimberly Willis Holt

Keeper of the Night is the story of the emotional aftermath of suicide and how it affects the members of a family. Highlights the importance of getting psychiatric help to help deal with the emotional crisis that results for family members. Some powerful insights into the emotional struggles along with how different people deal with such a loss in their lives.

Set in Guam, the novel is also a lovely exposure to the people, culture, and traditions of this country.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Gay Neck: The Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji

I seemed to enjoy this book a lot more than the average person on Goodreads! I thought the writing was almost poetic in its descriptions of things. I was fascinated by Mukerji's descriptions of Indian life and culture and more exposure to the Hindi faith. I learned a lot about birds and training of pigeons that was very interesting to me. I also had no idea of the role that pigeon's played as messengers during WWI. More than anything, I appreciated the wisdom the writer shares about how we should treat each other through his story of pigeons. It was a beautiful parable which I appreciated very much!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Santa Evita by Tomas Eloy Martinez

I wish I knew how much of this book is fact and how much it is fictionalized and speculation. Martinez specifically calls it a novel, but he is also so very careful about his sources. The book is the story of Eva Peron, focusing on the handling of her corpse after she passed away from cancer at the age of 33. Extremely interesting and engaging!