Awhile back, I committed myself to reading every Pulitzer Prize winning fiction book from the year of my birth, 1949, to the present. It had always taken me a long time to get through a book, I had always preferred non-fiction, and I knew nothing about the Pulitzer Prize, so it was a strange challenge for me. I wondered if my reading would get caught up to the present in my lifetime.
Well, only about six years later, I did it! I've read every one, from 1949's winner Guard of Honor to 2009's winner Olive Kitteridge--sixty years of award-winning books. Now I can simply wait each year for the new Pulitzer fiction book to come along, meanwhile reading scores of other books I want to read--mostly non-fiction.
I won't go into my critique of the Pulitzer Prize choices. Suffice it to say, while many of them are excellent books and a joy to read (The Travels of Jamie McPheeters, Lonesome Dove, etc.), many others are a pain to get through (A Fable, American Pastoral, etc.) and if not for what by then I considered a duty I never would have finished them. But what I did get from this challenging project was the discipline to read regularly and never to leave a book unfinished, the ability to read faster, and the relief of knowing that I can complete in six years what I was afraid I wouldn't live long enough to complete.
You can find very brief comments I've made about each book at http://oldelephantwings.blogspot.com/search?q=Pulitzer
For the complete contents of the Butter Rum Cartoon, click here.