Comcast’s Internet service was been down for about 36 hours which has made blogging difficult. Now that my day job is officially a work from home gig, I rely on steady Internet access like never before, and considering the amount of time I spend blogging and using the Internet for pretty much all of the information consumption in my life, going without is next to impossible for me. I’d say that’s a little scary, but it’s been like this for several years now so I’m pretty used to it. At any rate, hopefully I’m back up and running for good, no thanks to Comcast – it took three phone calls to them and 12 hours before they could even confirm that an outage was causing my problem. Luckily, Mrs. Millions was kind enough to let me use her office for work, otherwise I would have been really screwed.
In the meantime, the Pulitzer Prizes were announced yesterday. To me, the Pulitzer Prize for fiction is the most predictable of all literary prizes as it usually goes to the most well-known American literary work of the previous year, especially if the book deals with American themes, namely the American immigrant/Melting Pot idea. American history is usually an important theme as well. This year I figured E.L. Doctorow’s The March was a lock, both because it sold well and because it’s about an iconic episode in American history, General Sherman’s great march during the Civil War. Instead, Doctorow’s book was named a finalist, but the much less well-known, but similarly named and themed book March by Geraldine Brooks won the prize. March is about the Civil War as well, but the book is not simply a fictional account of a historical event, rather March tells the story of Mr. March, the father who in Louisa May Alcott’s classic Little Women is away fighting in the Civil War. This isn’t the first time that what Booksquare calls a remix has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. In 1999 Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, a “remix” of Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway won the prize.
Listed below are this years winners and finalists in all the “Letters” categories. I’ve included links to excerpts and other interesting material where available.
- Winner: March by Geraldine Brooks – excerpt
- The March by E.L. Doctorow – excerpt
- The Bright Forever by Lee Martin – excerpt
- No Winner: (I rather like that the Pulitzer unlike most other prizes is unafraid to not pick a winner if they don’t feel there’s a worthy book in a category – though, admittedly, I’d be surprised to see them not pick a fiction winner any time soon.)
- Miss Witherspoon by Christopher Durang – New York Times review
- The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow by Rolin Jones – New York Times review
- Red Light Winter by Adam Rapp – New York Times review
- Winner: Polio: An American Story by David M. Oshinsky – Bookslut review
- New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in Eighteenth-Century Manhattan by Jill Lepore – excerpt
- The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln by Sean Wilentz – interview
- Winner: American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin – excerpt
- The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion – excerpt
- The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism by Megan Marshall – Megan Marshall at Slate
- Winner: Late Wife by Claudia Emerson – a poem
- American Sublime by Elizabeth Alexander – excerpt
- Elegy on Toy Piano by Dean Young – excerpt (pdf)