Friday, November 7, 2008

The Pulitzer Project

I ran across this site while surfing the other day, and decided to take the "Pulitzer Project" challenge.

Basically, the participants read every Pulitzer Prize winning novel ever written, and write a review of it on their own blog and/or on the Pulitzer Project blog. There is no time limit for completion. I love to read, I love a good challenge, and it sounds like fun so I'm going to try it, with one caveat: I refuse to waste perfectly good time and energy reading books that I consider to be boring or crummy. So if I read part of one of these "winners" and I hate it, I'm going to cut the reading short and write my review based on the part I read that made me think it's awful.

I've already read a few of these novels. Some I liked, one not so much. I'll start by writing reviews of the books I've already read (after refreshing my memory by re-reading them quickly, of course). Then I'll move on to reading and writing about others.

Since I rarely have time to read whole novels (I spend way too much time reading news and blogs on the internet), you can expect about one book review every three months or so. At about 4 books a year, and with currently more than 80 prize winners and a new one being awarded each year, it will take me 25 years or so to complete this project (assuming I live that long).

I doubt all of you will still be reading this blog by then (heck, I doubt I'll still be writing it by then), so if you want to know whether to read one of these prize-winning books or whether they're any good, you probably would do better to look at them yourself or read reviews by professional reviewers. But if you want to read along with me, or comment on the wonderful insights or crappy analysis you find in my reviews, or if you want to read along and maybe even write your own reviews (either on your own blog or at the Pulitzer Project blog site), I encourage that.

If you want to participate, check out the Pulitzer Project web site. The book list is here if you just want to see what I'll be reading and writing about occasionally.

I may also attempt the "Newbery Project," which is the same concept, but with children's books that have won the Newbery Medal. Or maybe I can talk my daughter into writing those reviews .... (hmmm.... that may take some legal mumbo jumbo and/or Jedi mind tricks, but it might be possible.)

If you don't enjoy these "elitist" type books or book reviews, you can just skip my "Pulitzer Project" (and/or "Newbery Project") blog posts.

If you do like this sort of thing, well then, Happy reading!


Fancy Schmancy said...

I checked the list and feel even less intelligent than I usually do. I've only read 2 of those books, and a third that I hated and couldn't get through - no matter how many people told me it was great. Does it count that I saw some of them as movies? Maybe, based on your review, I'll check some of them out, but I'm more likely to go to the childrens section and grab a Newbery.

LegalMist said...

No need to feel less intelligent just because your taste in literature isn't the same as the snobs who award the prizes. At least one of my reviews will use words like "pretentious" and "boring" to describe one of the prize winners.

That's sort of the point of this Pulitzer challenge, for me -- to add the voices of regular people to the chorus of professional book critics in evaluating the relative merits of these famous books.

And if I find a book boring and annoying, I'm not planning to wade all the way through it. You don't have to, either, even if people tell you it's a "great book."

I'd love to see your movie reviews in the comments to my book reviews, if you have the time. I so rarely get to see movies and I love to know if there's one I should make a point to see or if it's just as well that I missed it.

Dale said...

I was surprised to see that I've read 5 of them. Surprising because I can't read!

Nan said...

So which one are you starting with? Are you going to randomize or just start with the oldest and work your way up the list?

LegalMist said...

I'll be starting with "The Hours" by Michael Cunningham. Stay tuned for a review soon!