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

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