Which books are you reading?

The following list is composed of information from two Wikipedia articles: Pulitzer Prize for the Novel and Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. These are the novels I will read, in order, if I am successful.  I’ve decided to put in boldface type all the books I’ve finished, to serve as a sort of visual record of how far I’ve gotten on my quest. I’ve also made the titles of each book I’ve finished a link to my review of that book, to make it easy to see my final thoughts about each novel. (Note: For years when no prize was given, if I have blogged about the lack of an award for that year, a link points you to that post.)

* 1917: No award given
* 1918: His Family by Ernest Poole (the first Pulitzer Prize for the Novel)
* 1919: The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
* 1920: No award given
* 1921: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
* 1922: Alice Adams by Booth Tarkington
* 1923: One of Ours by Willa Cather
* 1924: The Able McLaughlins by Margaret Wilson
* 1925: So Big by Edna Ferber
* 1926: Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis (he declined the prize, but I read it anyway)
* 1927: Early Autumn by Louis Bromfield
* 1928: The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
* 1929: Scarlet Sister Mary by Julia Peterkin
* 1930: Laughing Boy by Oliver La Farge
* 1931: Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
* 1932: The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
* 1933: The Store by Thomas Sigismund Stribling
* 1934: Lamb in His Bosom by Caroline Miller
* 1935: Now in November by Josephine Winslow Johnson
* 1936: Honey in the Horn by Harold L. Davis
* 1937: Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
* 1938: The Late George Apley by John Phillips Marquand
* 1939: The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
* 1940: The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
* 1941: No award given
* 1942: In This Our Life by Ellen Glasgow
* 1943: Dragon’s Teeth by Upton Sinclair
* 1944: Journey in the Dark by Martin Flavin
* 1945: A Bell for Adano by John Hersey
* 1946: no award given
* 1947: All the King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren (the last Pulitzer Prize for the Novel)
* 1948: Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener (the first Pulitzer Prize for Fiction)
* 1949: Guard of Honor by James Gould Cozzens
* 1950: The Way West by A. B. Guthrie, Jr.
* 1951: The Town by Conrad Richter
* 1952: The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
* 1953: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
* 1954: No award given
* 1955: A Fable by William Faulkner
* 1956: Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
* 1957: No award given
* 1958: A Death in the Family by James Agee
* 1959: The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters by Robert Lewis Taylor
* 1960: Advise and Consent by Allen Drury
* 1961: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
* 1962: The Edge of Sadness by Edwin O’Connor
* 1963: The Reivers by William Faulkner
* 1964: No award given
* 1965: The Keepers of the House by Shirley Ann Grau
* 1966: The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter by Katherine Anne Porter
* 1967: The Fixer by Bernard Malamud
* 1968: The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
* 1969: House Made of Dawn by N. Scott Momaday
* 1970: The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford by Jean Stafford
* 1971: No award given
* 1972: Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
* 1973: The Optimist’s Daughter by Eudora Welty
* 1974: No award given
* 1975: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
* 1976: Humboldt’s Gift by Saul Bellow
* 1977: No award given
* 1978: Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson
* 1979: The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
* 1980: The Executioner’s Song by Norman Mailer
* 1981: A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
* 1982: Rabbit Is Rich by John Updike
* 1983: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
* 1984: Ironweed by William Kennedy
* 1985: Foreign Affairs by Alison Lurie
* 1986: Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry
* 1987: A Summons to Memphis by Peter Taylor
* 1988: Beloved by Toni Morrison
* 1989: Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler
* 1990: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
* 1991: Rabbit At Rest by John Updike
* 1992: A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley
* 1993: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
* 1994: The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx
* 1995: The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
* 1996: Independence Day by Richard Ford
* 1997: Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer by Steven Millhauser
* 1998: American Pastoral by Philip Roth
* 1999: The Hours by Michael Cunningham
* 2000: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
* 2001: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
* 2002: Empire Falls by Richard Russo
* 2003: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
* 2004: The Known World by Edward P. Jones
* 2005: Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
* 2006: March by Geraldine Brooks
* 2007: The Road by Cormac McCarthy
* 2008: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
* 2009: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
* 2010: Tinkers by Paul Harding
* 2011: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
* 2012: No award given
* 2013: The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson
* 2014: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
* 2015: All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

6 comments on “Which books are you reading?

  1. Jennifer says:

    Hi, James. This is a really fun way to narrow the immense scope of books-to-read-next. I started to put a few of these on hold at the library and it looks like neither SPL or King Co. have “The Able McLaughlins” by Margaret Wilson. Any luck for you tracking this one down sans Amazon?

    (If you are not in Seattle, I apologize for the abbrevs that will make no sense… )


    (in book club with your sis, Karen)

    • jwrosenzweig says:

      Jennifer: thanks for dropping by! I’m glad you’ll give some of these a read–as you can see from my reviews, of the three I’ve completed so far, I can definitely recommend one, and think another is well worth reading.

      I am in Seattle, so no worries on the abbreviations. The Able McLaughlins I have acquired via InterLibraryLoan thanks to KCLS, but I’ve found (now that I’m back at the UW in grad school, as of this week) that the UW also has a copy. I’d definitely recommend using ILL for obscure titles, though–if nothing else, it’ll emphasize to KCLS, one of the nation’s biggest public library systems, that they ought to have a complete set of the Pulitzer novels on hand somewhere in the system. 🙂

      Good luck with the book club, and once you’ve read a Pulitzer novel or two, I really encourage you to drop by and comment on any of my posts, even the older ones! I’d love to hear other people’s ideas in reaction to mine. Thanks again for the interest:


      • Jennifer says:

        Hi, James! Very excited – finally got word from SPL that “His Family” came in, and just checked it out. Since I’m a stickler for reading things in order, now I can get going.

        The Wharton has several holds ahead of me, however, so I may have to try a different route to get book 2.

        Otherwise I also have checked out the two Tarkingtons, So Big, and Arrowsmith — so, missing just a few along the way.

        I’ll be glad to get started!


        • jwrosenzweig says:

          Jennifer: this is great news! I’ve wanted to hear someone else’s take on His Family, which I still look back on with some fondness (although accepting its flaws). I hope you’ll feel free to comment on any of the posts up about it, regardless of how old they are, once you’ve started reading!

          And just a reminder: Book #2 is Ambersons, so you’re set until Book #3 (which is the Wharton novel). Happy reading, and I hope to see you back here soon!

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  3. […] I really respect that and wanted to let everyone here know he exists! If you’re curious, here’s a list of what he has read and intends to read for his Pulitzer project. Like a few of the other bloggers I admire, he tends to discuss a book in […]

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