Day #1 of My Challenge to Read Every Novel that has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction #MondayBlogs #Pulitzer #ReadingChallenge

I’m starting a new project today! Although I’m sure the project will not literally kill me, it is going to be a HUGE challenge. What, exactly, am I talking about? Well, I’ve decided to read every single one of the novels that has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction since the inception of the prize in 1918. *Gulp*

Gen_pulitzerWhy am I doing this? Have I lost my freaking mind? Probably. To be totally honest, I feel as if my knowledge of American literature is lacking. I remember a class in law school about Henry Miller. I had absolutely no clue who he was! *Blushes* I can’t entirely blame the US educational system on my lack of knowledge. I only spent half of my high school years in the US, and I was obsessed with all things foreign at the time. (I always knew I would leave the US and live abroad.) I spent one year reading all the works of Shakespeare and another semester obsessed with Russian literature. Then came college, which I finished in three years. In order to accomplish that feat, while working full-time mind you, I didn’t have any time for electives. I plowed through the requirements to get a Bachelor’s degree in history. It’s not too surprising that the course work did not include any classes in American literature.

Now, the time has arrived for me to rectify this embarrassing lack of knowledge. After all, you can’t be a writer without being a reader. But why the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction? Honestly, I wanted to read the top 100 American novels, but the top 100 according to whom? There are tons and tons of lists. How to choose? There just wasn’t a way to choose the best list, so I went with a well-known and well-respected prize instead a.k.a. The Pulitzer.

Here’s the list of the novels I’ll be reading:

Year Novel Author
2018 Less Andrew Sean Greer
2017 The Underground Railroad Colson Whitehead
2016 The Sympathizer Viet Thang Nguyen
2015 All the Light We Cannot See Anthony Doeer
2014 The Goldfinch Donna Tartt
2013 The Orphan Master’s Son Adam Johnson
2012 No Award Given  
2011 A Visit From the Goon Squad Jennifer Egan
2010 Tinkers Paul Harding
2009 Olive Kitteridge Elizabeth Strout
2008 The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Junot Díaz
2007 The Road Cormac McCarthy
2006 March Geraldine Brooks
2005 Gilead Marilynne Robinson
2004 The Known World Edward P. Jones
2003 Middlesex Jeffrey Eugenides
2002 Empire Falls Richard Russo
2001 The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Michael Chabon
2000 Interpreter of Maladies Jhumpa Lahiri
1999 The Hours Michael Cunningham
1998 American Pastoral Philip Roth
1997 Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer Steven Millhauser
1996 Independence Day Richard Ford
1995 The Stone Diaries Carol Shields
1994 The Shipping News E. Annie Proulx
1993 A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain Robert Olen Butler
1992 A Thousand Acres Jane Smiley
1991 Rabbit at Rest John Updike
1990 The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Oscar Hijuelos
1989 Breathing Lessons Anne Tyler
1988 Beloved Toni Morrison
1987 A Summons to Memphis Peter Taylor
1986 Lonesome Dove Larry McMurtry
1985 Foreign Affairs Alison Lurie
1984 Ironweed William Kennedy
1983 The Color Purple Alice Walker
1982 Rabbit Is Rich John Updike
1981 A Confederacy of Dunces John Kennedy Toole
1980 The Executioner’s Song Norman Mailer
1979 The Stories of John Cheever John Cheever
1978 Elbow Room James Alan McPherson
1977 No award given  
1976 Humboldt’s Gift Saul Bellow
1975 The Killer Angels Michael Shaara
1974 No award given  
1973 The Optimist’s Daughter Eudora Welty
1972 Angle of Repose Wallace Stegner
1971 No award given  
1970 The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford Jean Stafford
1969 House Made of Dawn N. Scott Momaday
1968 The Confessions of Nat Turner William Styron
1967 The Fixer Bernard Malamud
1966 The Collected Stories of Katherine Anne Porter Katherine Anne Porter
1965 The Keepers of the House Shirley Ann Grau
1964 No award given  
1963 The Reivers William Faulkner
1962 The Edge of Sadness Edwin O’Connor
1961 To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
1960 Advise and Consent Allen Drury
1959 The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters Robert Lewis Taylor
1958 A Death in the Family James Agee
1957 No award given  
1956 Andersonville MacKinlay Kantor
1955 A Fable William Faulkner
1954 No award given  
1953 The Old Man and the Sea Ernest Hemingway
1952 The Caine Mutiny Herman Wouk
1951 The Town Conrad Richter
1950 The Way West A. B. Guthrie, Jr.
1949 Guard of Honor James Gould Cozzens
1948 Tales of the South Pacific James A. Michener
1947 All the King’s Men Robert Penn Warren
1946 no award given  
1945 A Bell for Adano John Hersey
1944 Journey in the Dark Martin Flavin
1943 Dragon’s Teeth Upton Sinclair
1942 In This Our Life Ellen Glasgow
1941 no award given  
1940 The Grapes of Wrath John Steinbeck
1939 The Yearling Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
1938 The Late George Apley John Phillips Marquand
1937 Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
1936 Honey in the Horn Harold L. Davis
1935 Now in November Josephine Winslow Johnson
1934 Lamb in His Bosom Caroline Miller
1933 The Store Thomas Sigismund Stribling
1932 The Good Earth Pearl S. Buck
1931 Years of Grace Margaret Ayer Barnes
1930 Laughing Boy Oliver La Farge
1929 Scarlet Sister Mary Julia Peterkin
1928 The Bridge of San Luis Rey Thornton Wilder
1927 Early Autumn Louis Bromfield
1926 Arrowsmith Sinclair Lewis
1925 So Big Edna Ferber
1924 The Able McLaughlins Margaret Wilson
1923 One of Ours Willa Cather
1922 Alice Adams Booth Tarkington
1921 The Age of Innocence Edith Wharton
1920 No award given  
1919 The Magnificent Ambersons Booth Tarkington
1918 His Family Ernest Poole

Full disclosure: Please don’t expect me to finish one book a week. I’m not that crazy! But I will keep you up to date on my progress each Monday, so watch this space.


11 thoughts on “Day #1 of My Challenge to Read Every Novel that has won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction #MondayBlogs #Pulitzer #ReadingChallenge

  1. Georgia Rose says:

    Wow! That is quite a task you have set yourself there. I have only read a couple of these, and I have others on my TBR. I wish you the best of luck with your project and look forward to the updates.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Aleigha Siron says:

    A great list and reason for reading them.
    I count 19 that I’ve for sure read, and maybe 2 more that I think I’ve read but not certain. Evidently, even Pulitzer Prize winners occasionally miss the memory banks of recall for whatever reason.
    As a writer, I am always reading and which often interferes with the demands of not only writing but maintaining a presence on social media, like writing engaging blogs!
    So many words – so little time!
    Guess I need to add to my reading list and sleep less, which means scientists must come up with magic that allows more functional hours to our already manic days! LOL
    Good luck with your grand assignment.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Robert Kirkendall says:

    Admittedly I’ve only read a handful of those. Some of those works may be out of print. When I was selling some old books back to the local used book store, they wouldn’t give me anything for a hardback of Malamud’s The Fixer (1967 Pulitzer winner). It may have even been a first edition.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Marva Hinton says:

    I’ve only read 10 of these books, and I feel okay with that number. Historically, women and people of color have been underrepresented in these awards, so I take that into account when I evaluate them.

    Liked by 1 person

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