Pulitzer ProblemsMay 14, 2009 at 9:17 am | Posted in Book Blather, Challenges | 6 Comments
Reading all the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction has been a long-time goal of mine. I decided I’d do it this year, figuring I only had 67 left to read. It should be a cinch. Well, if you have a similar goal, let me tell you that it’s more complicated than it looks at first. That’s why I’ve only read four in five months.
The biggest issue is pure size. Many of these books are quite large – for instance, The Executioner’s Song is a thousand-pager. Of the 63 remaining on my list, the average page count is 411. With nearly 26,000 pages to go, I’ll have to read 812 pages a week.
The next issue is availability, for various reasons. Some titles have fallen out of favor and are hard to come by – there are at least four that aren’t available at my library. The other problem is that reading the Pulitzers is a fairly common literary challenge, so there’s competition. Many of these books are represented by only one volume in my library system, most at far-flung branches around the county.
The upshot is that I’m going to have to revise my intention of reading through the Pulitzers in chronological order. Right now it’s just taking too long to get the books. It looks like I’m going to have to read The Able McLaughlins in e-book format. It’s okay, though – most of the ones I’ve already read are pretty randomly distributed through the list. I’ll just cherry-pick a little and work on both the older and the newer ends of the stack.