Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Reading the World - Best Books - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1918 - 2020

Who are my readers? How many of the Pulitzer Award Winning Fiction books have you read? I'm at 15 out of the 93. Pulitzer Prize announcement for 2021 has been postponed. It is expected to be announced this month.

Pulitzer Prize in Fiction 1918 to 2020
1918 - His Family by Ernest Poole
1919 - The Magnificent Ambersons by Booth Tarkington
1920 - No Award
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
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 Lafarge
1931 - Years of Grace by Margaret Ayer Barnes
1932 - The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
1933 - The Store by T. S. 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
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
1947 - All the King's Men by Robert Penn Warren
1948 - Tales of the South Pacific by James Michener
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 Аward
1955 - A Fable by William Faulkner
1956 - Andersonville by MacKinlay Kantor
1957 - No Аward
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
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 Аward
1972 - Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
1973 - The Optimist's Daughter by Eudora Welty
1974 - No Аward
1975 - The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
1976 - Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow
1977 - No Аward
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 by 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 Аward
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
2016 - The Sympathizer Viet Thanh Nguyen
2017 - The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead
2018 - Less Andrew Sean Greer
2019 - The Overstory Richard Powers
2020 - The Nickel Boys Colson Whitehead

There are also Pulitzer Prizes awarded for General nonfiction, Biography and History.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Bookaholic - Reading the Best Books - Arrowsmith

Bookaholic - Reading the Best Books - Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century

Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis made the Reader’s List at #78.

I found the novel interesting because of its foray into science.  I obtained my BA in Chemistry and spent a summer doing antimalarial drug research at the Department of Pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi.  

I had no idea what the subject of Arrowsmith was prior to reading it.  I did know that Sinclair Lewis was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for it back in 1926.  A prize I think he declined.  My only experience or prejudgment would have been from reading Mainstreet which placed #68 on the Board’s List of 20th Best novels.

In many ways Arrowsmith is still relevant today as the Covid19 situation once again raises issues about science and ethics both of which come into play in Arrowsmith.

Sinclair Lewis, as he did with Mainstreet, brings middle class America of the times into focus.  You can get a glimpse of history even as you read fiction.  You get glimpses of the culture, prejudices, and mindsets.  

With the completion of Arrowsmith, I have just 4 books left to read of the READERS’ List of Top 100 (which includes more than 100 since it includes the Mission Earth Dekalogy as a single entry). 

Remaining I have #70 - The Wood Wife by Terri Windling, #80 Naked Lunch by William Burroughs and V. by Thomas Pynchon, all of which I am currently reading off and on.  Once I finish these 3, I will have completed the Readers’ Top 100 list EXCEPT for Ulysses by James Joyce.  It’s one I have started a couple of times but haven’t managed to finished.  

Ulysses is # 11 on the Readers’ List BUT #1 on the Board’s List.  I’ve only read 46 of the 100 entries on the Board’s List so far which includes 31 books that are also on the Readers’ List.  Ulysses is the final book shared by both.  I will be tackling Ulysses again soon I think.  It shouldn’t take me too long to finish the 3 ahead of it in my reading queue.

My other ongoing Reading Goals = (1) BBC’s Big Reads Top 100 and Top 200 (Ulysses is on the Top 100) and more recently (2) Reading The World - reading books written by authors from all of the world’s countries and jurisdictions.    I hope to complete the BBC 100 this year (I’ve completed 91) along with the Modern Library’s Readers 100.  

Reading the World - Ecuador Poso Wells by Gabriela Alemán

 Reading the World - Ecuador   Poso Wells by Gabriela Alemán

When I decided to join the Read the World club, I decided to start with places I have lived - US, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China.  I have now read at least 1 book written by an author from those jurisdictions.

Following where I lived, places where I have worked.  That adds Ecuador to the list since I worked on an agreement for the OCP Pipeline flying to Quito for meetings.  I also did volunteer  work in Brasil (I spell the country as Brasilians spell it).  I’ve read several books written by Paulo Coelho so Brasil is covered.  Finding a book in English written by an Ecuadorian Author was more difficult.  I finally found this one.

Poso Wells is a short novel written around a poor community in Ecuador beset by problems more or less created by the political system.  Without spoiling the plot, a journalist investigating a bizarre event and the disappearance of a presidential candidate finds a bigger story.

You have drama, you have comedy, you have romance, you have intrigue, you have a religious cult, you have corrupt politicians and businesses.  You even have poetry.  What’s not to love?

Seriously I enjoyed reading this book.  I’m glad I unearthed it searching for books written by an Ecuadorian.   One of the reasons I chose her novel is because of her name - Alemán.  I lived and worked in Cuidad Miguel Alemán, Mexico so the connection was slight but enough for me to read this rather than a book by another Ecuadorian author (I only uncovered 1 other so far with books in English that I can locate / get my hands on).

If you can get a copy of Poso Wells to read, do so.  

Future Reading - Reading the World

Now my goal is to complete books written by authors in areas I have traveled.  These are the Bahamas, St Martin, Costa Rica, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Nepal, Slovakia and Austria. 

I have read several books written by Japanese authors - some of my favorite books in fact.  

Finding books from the other areas in ENGLISH may take some time.  I don’t plan to read linear - I will mix in world authors with other books I am reading - there are simply too many books I want to read. 

 Even reading at the pace I am reading (which is not sustainable) it will take a long time to complete the World list.  So far in 2021 I have completed 67 books.

Think about starting your own reading journey.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Reading the World - Spain - The SHadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón


An excellent novel by a Spanish author, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, who died too young.

I rarely rate a book 5 stars these days but this is one that I did.  The setting is Spain in the first half of the 20th Century (with a little bit of Paris tossed in) and revolves around a young boy / young man and his quests - one is for love and the other is for information.  The cast of characters are superbly created and the storyline is unique yet authentic.  

The pace of the book will vary - fast, slow, medium as the stage is set, the back story is established and by then you are hooked.   

I enjoy books about books but this isn’t exactly that.  If you like books about books then you should read John Dunning’s Cliff Janeway books.  This is a book however that involves a bookseller and a book and author.  But it is more of a good versus evil plot and a “consequences” of actions.

This isn’t a novel you will probably read in a day.  It is one you will probably read a little and then more.  At least that is what I did.  Then you will reach the point of no return and read it to its conclusion.

For the life philosopher, there are a lot of “quotes” worthy of thought.  I highlighted a lot of phrases, sentences, and thoughts as I read it on my Kindle.  Readers are plentiful; thinkers are rare.”  as Harriet Martineau said.  This is a novel that will at times make you think.

I mistakenly thought it was on the BBC "Big Read" Top 200 list which is why originally picked it up to read.  I've been reading my way through both the Modern Library Best Novels of the 20th Century and the BBC 200.  However it was published after the BBC list was compiled.  It was listed on a list circulated on Social media as being part of the BBC 100 but that list had several books listed that were not in fact on the BBC list. It's a mistake I'm glad I made.  It's a book worth reading and  it just so happens to fit into my latest reading the world project since the author was from Spain.

Monday, April 19, 2021

"On the Run" series by Gordon Korman

 On the Run series by Gordon Korman

This is a hexology young adult series about a young brother and sister whose parents are in jail.  The 2 youngsters travel the US trying to prove their parents innocence.  It’s not realistic but it’s not designed to be.  It’s designed to be fast paced and interesting which it is.

It’s start reminds me of Holes by Louis Sachar and other parts remind me of Runaway by Wendell Van Draanen.  I recommend both books and authors.

I love reading Young Adult genre and try to read some Newbery Award books each year (slowly try to read all the winners).  Many of my all time favorite books are YA.  

The 6 books of this series in order are:

1. Chasing the Falconers

2. The Fugitive Factor

3. Now you See Them, Now You Don’t

4. The Stowaway Solution

5. Public Enemies

6. Hunting the Hunter

All of the books are short (relatively) and didn’t take long to read.

If you have children who like adventure stories, whether they like to read or not, this series may appeal to them.  It seems like the author was simply extending the story after the first 2 and the ending wasn't the most credible.   I’d say the first 2 books are the best and the others not as “tight” but still enjoyable reading.


Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Hong Kong Author Dung Kai-cheung: Atlas

 Reading the World

Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City  by  Dung Kai-cheung — Hong Kong

I know that technically Hong Kong is considered part of China BUT Hong Kong culturally and historically is different from mainland China although recent events are changing that.  I lived in Hong Kong from February of 2011 until August of 2012.  I lived across the mainland border from Hong Kong in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China from August 2013 until October, 2020.  

Culturally Hong Kong was very different from China as of 2013.

So as I was making a list of books to read representing the different world jurisdictions, I included Hong Kong separately as I do Taiwan.

I searched online for Authors from Hong Kong and selected Atlas by Kai-cheung Dung by mistake.  I glanced through the page online too quickly.  It was the author above Atlas that I actually was interested in reading but ….  oh well.  

Atlas is different.  It is a novel that revolves around maps.  The story itself revolves around a fictional city of Victoria but clearly revolves around Hong Kong.  For people who have lived in Hong Kong as I did, the book will be more interesting than I suspect it will be to anyone who has never been there.

The discussion of the history behind some of the places I found interesting although I am uncertain how much is true and how much is pure fiction - the book is fiction after all but the history of Cantonese language included seems real.

If you’ve lived in Hong Kong, you may find the book of interest. 

World Reading Progress

So I have now read books from every jurisdiction where I have lived - US (Arkansas), Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China.

Next will be to finish books related to authors from jurisdictions where I have worked.  This would add Canada, Ecuador and Brasil / Brazil.  I’ve read several Canadian authors including Charles de Lint and Margaret Atwood and at least one Brasilian author - Paulo Coelho.  So I need to read something from Ecuador before moving on to authors from places I have only visited on vacation - Costa Rica, the Bahamas, Slovakia, Austria, Japan, Indonesia, Nepal, Thailand, Taiwan.  If we include airports, I can add Switzerland, Malaysia and Qatar.   

2021 Stats

So far in 2021, I have finished 46 books totaling just over 19,000 pages.  I have read books by 33 different authors (18 female) from 13 jurisdictions: the US, the UK, Canada, Australia, Ireland, Poland, Italy, Norway, Jamaica, North Korea, South Korea, Hong Kong and a Russian American.

Currently reading:  The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Arrowsmith (1926 Pulitzer Prize) by Sinclair Lewis, A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth (India), The Federalist and the Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V. E. Schwab. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Reading the World - South Korea


The Girl who Wrote Loneliness , Kyung-Sook Shin

“This book … turned out to be not quite fact and not quite fiction …. I wonder if it can be called literature.”    The Girl Who Wrote Loneliness, Kyung-Sook Shin

My 40th book of 2021 and taking me to almost 17,000 pages read.

I have lived in the United States, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China.

I have worked in the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Mexico, South Korea, Hong Kong and mainland China.  If you include volunteer work, then I also can include Brasil.  

So when I decided to expand my reading to purposely seek out authors from around the globe, I decided I should start with where I lived and worked, then expand to other places.  I have read tons of books written by authors from the USA and Canada.  And I’ve read books written by Mexican Authors, Brazilian Authors and Chinese Authors.  Missing from my reading menagerie were authors from South Korea, Hong Kong and Ecuador.  

How does one choose a book to read.  We all know the familiar adage “Don’t Judge a Book by its Cover” but I must confess, sometimes I do choose a book to read because of the cover.  Other times I choose a book because it’s title intrigues me and sometimes it is just a feeling.

With “The Girl Who wrote Loneliness” I chose the book because it’s author was South Korean and the title intrigued me.  I’m glad I did

I moved to South Korea in August, 2009 and lived there until February, 2011.  This book is sort of historical fiction and describes a South Korea I never knew mixed with a South Korea I encountered.  How much of the history is truly South Korean history and how much is fiction?   I do not know.  The book describes a South Korea before it's democracy evolved.  People were poor, and worked hard to get an education and improve their economic conditions.  Were conditions in South Korea in the 1980s as described?  

The book follows the life of a young girl who moves from the rural countryside to Seoul to live, work and study.  The story is told by an author who is writing a historical fiction account of those days of her youth.  I don't know the socio-economic history of South Korea to separate the fact from fiction.  I did try to look up an author mentioned in the book and couldn't find anything so even though the person seems real in the book, I now presume she was created for the story.

If you have lived in South Korea in the 21st Century but not earlier, then you should enjoy learning more of Korean culture before South Korea's hard earned economic rise.  The book is captivating and a drama.  It provides insight to a culture very different from the west.  

NOTE:  From Wikipedia:  "Kyung-Sook Shin is a South Korean writer. She is the first South Korean and first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize [ in 2012 for 'Please Look After Mom'. ]"

Reading the World - Best Books - Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 1918 - 2020 Who are my readers? How many of the Pulitzer Award Winning Fiction books have you read? I'm at...