Monday, August 27, 2007

CHALLENGE: Long Term Projects

Wouldn't it be fun to be able to say "I've read all the Pulitzer prize winning books" or "I've read all the Bookers"? Well there are a bunch of ambitious readers around who think it would be fun. We are not completely crazy so this is a long term project, as in eventually, I'll be able to say I've read all these great books. I think it will be interesting to see which books I tend to prefer, because I imagine there is a definite feel that each list takes on. In the same way I think I tend to like the Giller prize winning books, but maybe it's because I'm Canadian.

Pulitzer: For distinguished fiction by an American author, preferably dealing with American life

books already read:
1961 To Kill a Mockingbird read in the 1990s
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces reviewed here
1983 The Color Purple read in the 1990s
1988 Beloved (I'm 90% sure I read this; also 90% sure I didn't get it. At all) read in the 1990s
1994 The Shipping News read in the 1990s
2003 Middlesex read in 2005

So, obviously I have quite a way to go, only 75 more. Unfortunately, there are several that I had no intention of reading; I'll save them for the end.
Here's the ones that I say, I want to read that, every time I see them. I expect to read them within the next year, she hopefully types.

2007 The Road
1999 The Hours
1995 The Stone Diaries
1958 A Death in the Family
1932 The Good Earth

Man Booker: is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original full-length novel, written in the English language, by a citizen of either the Commonwealth of Nations or the Republic of Ireland.

So far, I've read:
2002 The Life of Pi read in 2004 and loved it.
2000 The Blind Assassin reviewed here
1997 The God of Small Things reviewed here
1993 Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha read in the 1990s
1985 The Bone People reviewed here

I found a big old list of Bookers I'd like to read and the ones that top the list are:
1983 Life and Times of Michael K
1989 The Remains of the Day
1998 Amsterdam

The Man Booker long list has been released and I'm hunting down any that I can find easily, ie, my library. Here's what I found at wikipedia, so I assume the links go to that site.

Darkmans by Nicola Barker
Self Help by Edward Docx
The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
The Gathering' by Anne Enright
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
Gifted by Nikita Lalwani
On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
What Was Lost by Catherine O'Flynn
Consolation by Michael Redhill
Animal's People by Indra Sinha
Winnie & Wolf by A.N. Wilson

So far, I've read The Reluctant Fundamentalist, reviewed below, and I am in a patient line for On Chesil Beach, and will be able to get Consolation at the library as well. Others may take a while.

I think I liked this book, after some reflection. As I read it, I wasn't sure, but since it was short, under 200 pages, I knew I'd keep going. This is the story of a young man from Pakistan, who came to America to go to Princeton and live the American dream. His life in New York City, with a high status job as a valuator, changes after September 11, 2001. The narrative voice is a little strange, and I'm not sure it was the best way to tell the tale. He tells his story to an unknown American he meets at a cafe in Pakistan, after the fact. We never find out who this stranger is, and a lot is left unsaid at the end. There is also a love story of sorts as the narrator recounts his love of an American girl during his time in America.

I'm not sure what an American reader would feel about this book. There is a definite outsider looking in quality, and the terrorist topic is a sensitive subject, quite rightly. The narrator is not a terrorist, but provides an interesting perspective to these times. There are political statements about America's involvement in Pakistan-Indian affairs, and the term fundamentalist has several connotations that are played with during the story. The ending is quite ambiguous and could be interpreted several ways. I think it has been longlisted for its somewhat daring topic, the narrator perspective, and the ambiguous ending, all of which make it easy to discuss and argue and analyze.


  1. Whew! I'm glad you are thinking in terms of long term.

    It's so fun to be back home and commenting on your blog, knowing that we've met. I will forever think of us enjoying our fish chowder and Candleman with his Oysters Rockefeller. We had such a fun time. I remember being hot and very tired at that point in our trip, so if you remember our meeting I hope you'll add just a bit more zest to my personality. While you're at it, picture me as a size 8! JK Tehe!

  2. Wow. That's some serious reading goals! Good luck!

  3. booklogged - it was terribly hot that night, but so enjoyable. I made my own chowder a week later, that one was so good at the restaurant.

    stephanie - definitely long term, like, in my lifetime. It's more of a goal to aim toward

  4. These would be some great lists to tackle for sure.


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