Thursday, January 28, 2010

Challenge: The Battle of the Prizes, American Version

This challenge pits winners of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction against the winners of the National Book Award in the American Version of the Battle of the Prizes.  (Click here for the British Version.)

Does one prize have higher standards than the other? Pick better winners? Provide more reading entertainment or educational value? Maybe challenge participants will be able to answer these and more questions – maybe they will simply read three great books!


Chose three books that you have not read before:

1) One that won both the Pulitzer and the National (here is a list of double dippers);
2) One that won the Pulitzer but not the National (Pulitzer winners are here); and
3) One that won the National but not the Pulitzer (National winners are here).

OPTION: For those who have already read all six of the double-dippers, or otherwise do not want to read one of those six, pick two Pulitzer winners and two National winners for a total of four books.

  • Read all books between February 1, 2010 and January 31, 2011. 
  • Overlap with other challenges is allowed -- and encouraged! The Pulitzer Project and The National Book Award Project are logical crossovers. The great thing is, for those working on both these lists, completing the challenge means reading three books, but crossing four items off the lists.
  • You do not have to commit to your choices now; you can change your mind about books at any time.
  • Sign up here by leaving a link to your post in a comment, or the list of your three choices in the comment. I will add the links to the participant list in this post. 
  • As you progress, please let us know by leaving comments with links to progress reports and reviews. Reviews are not necessary, but encouraged. If you do not have a blog, put your reviews or reports in a comment on this post.
  • You can copy and paste the button. Or, if you want me to send you the code, please leave a comment with an email and I will. I cannot figure out the fancy ways of giving directions. 

    You can find a list of last year's participants and links to their reviews here

    My original three choices were:

    1) The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter for my double dipper choice;

    2) Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler for my Pulitzer winner; and

    3) Them by Joyce Carol Oates for my National winner.

    I picked these three because they are all on my TBR shelf now and they give me a "prize winners by women" theme to work with.

    But, I switched when I read a Olive Kitteridge and Let the Great World Spin and decided to use those instead (reviews are listed below).  My plan is to read the Porter stories and go with a short story theme instead of a books by women theme. 


    Rose City Reader
    chaotic compendiums (read her wrap-up post here)
    Oh, So Many Manias . . . 
    Joy's Blog
    Book In Hand
    100 Books. 100 Journeys
    J.G. at Hotch Pot Cafe (read her wrap-up post here)
    Remember to Breathe  (read her wrap-up post here)
    Book Psmith
    Man of La Book


    Morte d'Urban by J. F. Powers on Musings 

    World's Fair by E. L. Doctorow on chaotic compendiums

    Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner on 100 Books. 100 Journeys 

    The Adventures of Augie March on 100 Books. 100 Journeys 

    Lonesome Dove on chaotic compendiums 

    Breathing Lessons on Book Psmith

    Gilead by Marilynne Robinson on Musings

    The Color Purple by Alice Walker on chaotic compendiums

    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann on Musings

    The Color Purple by Alice Walker on 100 Books. 100 Journeys

    Tinkers by Paul Harding on Musings

    The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Muchael Chabon on Man of La Book

    The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter on Hotchpot Cafe

    The Optimist's Daughter on Hotchpot Cafe

    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann on Man of La Book

    Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann here on Rose City Reader

    Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout here on Rose City Reader


    1. I'm joining both! Yay! Here's my post about the Americans:

    2. Caitlin -- Thank you for being the first to sign up!

    3. I can't get your link to the National Book Award Challenge to work, but found them at

    4. Debbie -- Thanks! I changed the link to the one you provided. It should work now.

    5. Count me in on this one, too. Should be fun! I'll post as soon as I pick out my books.

      Thanks for hosting again, and for adding the British version (yay, Bookers!), too.

    6. J.G. -- So glad to have you back for another year!

    7. Loved this one last year, so I'm signing up again. Here's the link to my post.

      Thanks for hosting again. Don't know about the British Version yet, but it really looks tempting!

    8. Joy -- I am glad you are participating again this year! I can't wait to see which books you pick.

    9. Hi again. Saw your comment about my challenge blog, and you can link to either my Joy's Blog post about the challenge, or the post on my challenge blog. That link would be:

      Either one is fine with me, but I'll probably be updating the challenge blog link. Sorry to be so confusing.

    10. I really like the idea of this challenge. Count me in! Diane

    11. I'm finally ready!

      Thanks for hosting this.

    12. Alright! I'm in! My next two books actually apply to this challenge so I am way excited! Here's my link:

    13. I've (finally) got my book list up here:

      We have an overlap with the Porter stories, so that'll make this extra-fun!

    14. OK, all the participant links are up for now. More are welcome.

      Leave comments with links to progress reports and reviews and I will add them.

    15. I'll join in again this year.

    16. OK, I think I have all the participants listed. Hope I didn't forget anybody.

      Still plenty of time to sign up!

      Laura -- Thanks for the link. Yours is the first review!

    17. Just finished World's Fair and loved it. My review is here.

    18. "Angle of Repose" rocked. Here is my review.

    19. Here is my sign up post...finally:) Thanks for hosting this challenge again.

    20. "The Adventures of Augie March" completed; not really my thing, but enjoyable in its own way. Here is my review.

    21. SocrMom -- Thanks for the review! I'll get it posted ASAP.

      Bibliobabe -- Thanks! I'll take a look. What an enormous undertaking.

    22. Review of Lonesome Dove is up:

    23. Review for Breathing Lessons...

    24. I've completed this one. Here's my wrap-up post.

    25. I have started "The Color Purple" as my double-dipper...and when I finish that one I'll have completed the challenge! I will post a review when I'm far I am really loving it.


    27. WHOOOO HOOOOO! I've completed the Challenge! Here is my review of "The Color Purple". I LOVED IT!!!

    28. I've finished the American Version of the challenge! I changed my list and read Tinkers as my final book. Here's my review

    29. Laura -- Thanks! I'll list your review. And congratulations on finishing the challenge! If you do a wrap-up post, please leave a link for that and I will add it.

    30. Hi, just joined, what a great concept. Too bad I didn't find this challenge a few months ago.

    31. Man of la Books -- Thanks for signing up for the challenge! If you do a sign up post, please leave a link in a comment and I will add it to the list.

      Great name for a blog, by the way.

    32. Hi, here is my first review:

      Shoot me an email, I'll give you code you can publish for the challenge button.

    33. Been reading more than reviewing, but hope to fix that soon. Here's my first one:

    34. This one's an overlap: Let the Great World Spin. Review at

      Another one on the way soon . . . .

    35. Finished! This was great fun! Thanks for hosting again! (Now off to read the British ones . . . .)

      Review of The Optimist's Daughter:


    36. Hi Rose,

      here is my review of Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

    37. Thanks for the challenge. I've completed my reading. Here is a link to my wrap-up post.


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