We’ll never know why the Pulitzer Prize board decided not to recognize the fiction category this year, spurning the three novelists nominated. What we do know is that sales of these books have increased regardless. Prize or not, people are reading the titles. Imagine if there were more finalists than three! Nominations create interest, whether in movies, plays or books.
Meanwhile there’s no shortage of titles and other awards, perhaps equally as important.
In New York City, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced the NYC Literary Honors, which will be given to living writers whose work highlights the city.
Towns and cities around the country sponsor literary festivals and community reading initiatives, where an entire town reads a book and meets in small discussion groups. Book clubs are flourishing. Most of my fiction reading comes from recommendations by friends in book clubs. Though not for me, I know people in several book clubs at once, reading several titles at a time. New York City’s “Big City Book Club” is reading Jack Finney’s novel, Time and Again. Discussions open for all 9 million New Yorkers are held online.
I’ll let you know if any deserved a Pulitzer.
Award winning but not Pulitzer winning novelist Ann Patchett chided the Pulitzer board for not selecting a fiction finalist. As a writer, reader and independent bookstore owner, she felt the decision hurt all three. “If I feel disappointment as a writer and indignation as a reader, I manage to get all the way to rage as a bookseller.”
She champions the importance of fiction: “(Fiction)…is a vital means of imagining a life other than our own, which in turn makes us more empathetic beings. Following complex story lines stretches our brains beyond the 140 characters of sound-bite thinking…”
I read fiction and non-fiction. Sometimes two or three books at once. I’ve written a bit about books I read this past year, though can’t say there was one that stands out above the rest. What keeps me turning the page, keeps me awake at night, is my favorite for the moment. Until the next book.
I’m always looking for new titles. Suggestions?