Starting out…

This blog is being written to chronicle a particular journey I intend to take–specifically, to read the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels in chronological order (that is the recipients of the “Pulitzer Prize for the Novel” from 1918 to 1947, and of the “Pulitzer Prize for Fiction” from 1948 to the present).  I have my reasons, which I’ll try to address in some early posts here, but none of them are any better than a mountain climber’s reasons for ascending a peak (and maybe a bit worse).  I’m a little curious what the experience will show me about American literature (and, if the literature is any good, about myself), but that’s all in the future.

I’ll post thoughts during the reading of some books (or so I anticipate), and more thought-out “reviews” at the end of each one.  I have no particular time in which I hope to accomplish the goal (within a year or two makes sense, but it’s going to require pretty dedicated reading to finish this in 12 months).  And, although I imagine events from my life will creep into most of what I write (and I may occasionally get into the details of those events, to make it clearer where I’m coming from), this isn’t primarily going to be a diary or journal in the most personal sense.  It’s one side of me–maybe not even the most important side of me–that I’m interested in hearing from.

I’m interested in hearing from you, too, if you’ve dropped by.  Please feel free to comment–to ask a question, to raise a point, to offer an insight.  I don’t know what form I want all this to take, but I know that part of what I hope for is some meaningful conversation about books and the human experience with people who are also interested in such things.

For now, it’s just me and a green hard-bound copy of His Family, by Ernest Poole, a novel written at the end of World War One.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

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8 comments on “Starting out…

  1. Daniel says:

    James, I look forward to reading about your excursion. Since the start of my first summer post high school, I have been able to begin reading once again. I am thrilled at the thought of having some sort of literary guide while I too read the great classics and award winners. My road is much less planned, and far more subject to wind, but our paths shall cross many times over the next couple of years. Here is to the dawn of your expidition!

    Daniel

  2. jwrosenzweig says:

    Thanks for being my first comment–it’s nice to know there are a few folks who’ll look in on where this takes me (and it forces me to actually go through with this strange plan). I’m glad your road is less planned than mine–haphazard reading has served me pretty well for three decades–but I’m interested to see what following a “program” does for my ability to look more deeply into a book. And I look forward to our paths crossing (both virtually online, and literally on campus) in the future.

  3. Whoa, very ambitious, little bro! I look forward to tagging along for the ride!

  4. Julie Whitehorn says:

    Sounds like a fun adventure. Looking forward to the updates!

  5. How about a link to the list of the books, so we can follow along?

  6. Brenda Townsend says:

    Ironically, my husband found this book for free on his Kindle! WTH???

    • jwrosenzweig says:

      Haha, I’d forgotten, but yes, the very earliest winners are all old enough to be free and in the public domain. I should have said so when you mentioned you couldn’t find it!

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