Tag Archives: pulitzer prize

A List of Good Books the Pulitzer Didn’t Pick

Gabe Habash -- April 17th, 2012

Some reactions following the announcement that the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction was a head fake:

“Shocked…angry…and very disappointed.”

-Pulitzer fiction juror Susan Larson

“Honestly, I feel angry on behalf of three great American novels.”

-Pulitzer fiction juror Maureen Corrigan

“I was so thrilled for Karen,” Ms. Pavlin said. “Then my second response was, what a shame, because the committee had it within their power to do something so wonderful for any one of those novelists. And they, for whatever reason, chose not to.”

-Swamplandia! editor Jordan Pavlin

According to the Pulitzer’s site, the award is “for distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life.” But no book, apparently, was distinguished enough.

There are a lot of people who lose out with this decision, the largest group of which is the reading public, who, as the Washington Post‘s Ron Charles tweeted, “would have been directed to a good novel.” Larson said the fiction reading community hopefully will now be encouraged to “read three books instead of one,” and we couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’ve put together some good books from last year that the Pulitzer didn’t think were worthy.

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson

The Pale King by David Foster Wallace

Swamplandia! by Karen Russell

The Call by Yannick Murphy

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

The Devil All the Time by Donald Ray Pollock

Changó’s Beads and Two-Tone Shoes by William Kennedy

We the Animals by Justin Torres

Open City by Teju Cole

Someday This Will Be Funny by Lynne Tillman

I Married You for Happiness by Lily Tuck

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka

Ghost Lights by Lydia Millet

A Moment in the Sun by John Sayles

My New American Life by Francine Prose

Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta

The Submission by Amy Waldman

Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore by Benjamin Hale

Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward

Once Upon a River by Bonnie Jo Campbell

Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman

The Angel Esmeralda by Don DeLillo

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson

What Do Book Awards Mean to You?

Craig Morgan Teicher -- March 8th, 2011

This week the National Book Critics Circle will give out its annual awards (the blogger is on the board).  A few months ago, the National Book Foundation gave out its award, and a couple of months from now, we’ll hear about the Pulitzer.  Plus, last week, Anthony Doerr won the Story Prize, a $20,000 award for short fiction.

All these awards make me wonder what book awards mean to various kinds of people–authors, editors, booksellers.  How do they affect the way you think about, edit, write, publish, but or sell books.  We’d love to hear from a few folks in the comments below.  Are book awards important?  Do they usually indicate standout books, or is it all just politics?  What do you think?