My Pulitzer Prize Idea

A few months ago, I'd estimate around October or November, I started noticing that my personal library was taking on a new form -- it seems that, over time, I have veered away from simply purchasing books that I want to read, and instead started purchasing books that have some sort of intrinsic value. For instance, I owned The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, so I purchased the rest of his collection: his short stories, lesser-known works from the early 60's and any other writing of his I could get my hands on. I did the same for James Joyce and F. Scott Fitzgerald.

My collection no longer was based on the presupposition that there were books that I wanted to read or were very interested in, it became an obsession to simply collect books. Over the course of a couple years, my collection, which started off with 50 books, at the most, swelled to its current number, 542.

One of the themes that I noticed developing was a miniature collection of Pulitzer Prize-winning novels; in my endeavor to collect "classics," I had haphazardly developed a collection of these books. So, I decided, since I already had a jumpstart on this particular collection, why not attempt to complete the collection? And, if that weren't enough, I thought "I don't want to just collect these books, I want to actually read them all." And then I thought "If I read all these books, I want everybody to know I read all these books. So, maybe I'll collect them all, read them all in one year and then write a memoir about the experience!" because I really am that pretentious.

But then something else occurred to me.

This endeavor, which is a huge undertaking, might not actually be as self-involved as I originally thought. See, I knew that if I told people, "Yeah, I read every single Pulitzer Prize winning novel in one year," that people would either be impressed, conclude that I way too much time on my hands or be impressed at the massive amount of time on my hands. I also knew that nobody would ask me, "So what did you learn about yourself and the world around you through this experience?"

Maya Angelou once said, "When I look back, I am so impressed again with the life-giving power of literature. If I were a young person today, trying to gain a sense of myself in the world, I would do that again by reading, just as I did when I was young."

And it is with that in mind that I am going to embark on this journey. I'm not going to do this thing to impress anyone, to prove how much of a connoisseur of literature I am or even to simply say that I did it. I'm going to tap into the mind-expanding power of literature and let it consume me. Without any presuppositions of truth or love or beauty, without any definition and without any clarity, I am going to allow these authors, and their words, to change me.

When I told my friend Josh about this idea, he decided he was going to do it too and already has a pretty good start on it (check out his blog at http://inwaitingwerlost.blogspot.com). But I really didn't want to sit idly by and watch him do my idea better than me, so today I decided I'm going to follow through with it, keep pace with him by reading the same books at the same time, discuss the books when we finish, then co-write a memoir about the experience when we're finished.

This seems to be a more realistic goal anyway.

At any rate, this is the first of many, many posts to come, however you will not find any Pulitzer-related entries on this site. To follow me on my journey, click your way over to another website, The Pulitzer Blog.

- the drew


  1. You are pretentious. It makes me sad.

    But I still love you.

  2. Good luck with that.

    ps- that's a pretty impressive bookshelf.

  3. More power to you!

    But in all honesty when I first read this the first thing that came to mind, as annoying as this might be to you, was the movie Julie & Julia. If you've yet to watch it (which I'm sure you have not), the premise is the main character, Julie, works to make every recipe in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in 365 days and blogs about it.

    You'll probably loathe me for this comment but I'm making it all the same. :D

    Good luck bestie, who I haven't spoken to in way too long!

  4. I actually really liked that movie!! That was an inspiration for me actually; I hadn't really considered writing about the journey until I heard about that movie.

    And it HAS been way too long, besty... We have much to discuss.

  5. Pretentious or not, I'm extremely impressed! And your Pulitzer Blog has been added to my Google Reader, of course. :)

    I'm excited to read about this journey! Sounds awesome :)

  6. Bold Endeavor. I'd like to read all of the books on American History ever written before 1850. (Might not be that many).

    Be careful letting all those loonies "change you" though. There's been some scary books written. :-)

  7. Wow. I think I made a grammar error in my previous comment. Woe is me.