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Tuesday News: Pulitzer Prizes announced, fiction and money, literary couples, and...

Among the other Pulitzers, Will Hobson and Michael LaForgia of the Tampa Bay Times won for local reporting for their investigation into the housing blight of the city’s homeless population; and the New York Times’s Tyler Hicks and Josh Haner took the two photography prizes.

The Pulitzer for fiction writing went to Donna Tartt for The Goldfinch, while Annie Baker won the prize for drama for her play set in a cinema, The Flick. Become Ocean, a piece commissioned by the Seattle Symphony by John Luther Adams, won the Pulitzer for music.  –The Guardian

“Business is the only human solidarity,” the American novelist William Dean Howells confessed in his essay “The Man of Letters as a Man of Business.” “We are all bound together with that chain, whatever interests and tastes and principles separate us.” Howells acknowledged what by the Gilded Age had become an unavoidable reality. Catering to a rising bourgeois class, imaginative writers had been forced to recognize money as both the root of many evils and also, in Marx’s words, “the truly creative power.” –New York Times

Vladimir Nabokov’s classic works such as Lolita and Pale Fire have entranced generations of readers. While Lolita was met with considerable controversy for its “obscene” and “pornographic” content, Nabokov himself was quite straight-laced and conservative. He was married to Véra for over 50 years, and they were constantly together. Moreover, his wife was a brilliant woman whose significant contributions to his oeuvre are easy to overlook, but ultimately undeniable. –Huffington Post Books

isn't sure if she's an average Romance reader, or even an average reader, but a reader she is, enjoying everything from literary fiction to philosophy to history to poetry. Historical Romance was her first love within the genre, but she's fickle and easily seduced by the promise of a good read. She approaches every book with the same hope: that she will be filled from the inside out with something awesome that she didnʼt know, didnʼt think about, or didnʼt feel until that moment. And she's always looking for the next mind-blowing read, so feel free to share any suggestions!


  1. Janine
    Apr 15, 2014 @ 12:23:06

    I’m surprised that the Pulitzer Prize for fiction went to a novel as commercially successful as The Goldfinch.

    I really enjoyed the article about literary power couples, and the people matching to book covers pictures are wonderful. (I still need to read the article about fiction and the theme of money).

  2. Liz Mc2
    Apr 15, 2014 @ 16:05:10

    @Janine: Possibly my impressions are distorted by the fact that winning a major award can boost sales, but looking at a list of past winners, I’d say the Pulitzer fairly often goes to a book that has had commercial success. I am pretty sure Alice Walker’s COLOR PURPLE and Toni Morrison’s BELOVED were best-sellers before their wins, for instance.

  3. Janine
    Apr 15, 2014 @ 19:26:42

    @Liz Mc2: You could be right about those, but I think a lot of the winners only hit the bestseller list after receiving the award. It would be interesting to see the stats on that, in any case. Tartt’s previous books were a literary thriller and a literary murder mystery; I think that added to my surprise.

  4. Sunita
    Apr 15, 2014 @ 22:05:37

    @Janine: I have to agree with Liz on this one. Mambo Kings, Kavalier & Clay, Stone Diaries are all pretty crowd-pleasing novels. Even when Cormac McCarthy won it was for one of his most accessible works.

    I knew I’d read articles in the past on the Pulitzer fiction awards tending to go to more popular works. With a little Googling I turned up William Gass’s old NYTBR piece (“the Pulitzer Prize in fiction takes dead aim at mediocrity and almost never misses”) and Rick Moody’s Believer essay where he calls it the Populist Prize.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean that all the books were bestsellers before they were chosen, but they regularly lie closer to the genre fiction end than, say, the National Book Awards, and I’d bet that on average they sell a lot more copies than the NBA books.

  5. Janine
    Apr 16, 2014 @ 12:30:52

    @Sunita: I see what you mean. I think of Tartt as an author who writes very well, but still writes primarily to entertain, moreso than some of the authors you and Liz mentioned. But that is probably just my subjective feeling about her books, and others likely differ.

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