Last week they announced the 2010 Pulitzer Prize winners, and I can't say it was a list that thrilled me. But, I was not surprised, as I am often underwhelmed by the Pulitzer Prize winners. I don't know why.
I was particularly not thrilled about the selection of Liaquat Ahamed's nonfiction book Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, which I read parts of and found dry, even by business subject standards. I couldn't imagine any but the most dedicated of financial history readers really loving it, but perhaps I am wrong. Did anyone else read that one and think I'm dead wrong?
I thought the strongest book on the list, the winner for Biography, was T.J. Stiles's The First Tycoon: The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt. That's another one I only got about a quarter of the way through, but I really enjoyed that quarter, and Mr. CR opined that someday we should get the book back again when we had more time to read the whole thing. We found it a very interesting mix of history and biography, with not too much mind-numbing detail of either. I'm also happy that the fiction winner, Tinkers, was published by a small and independent press, although I'd read that book (it was nice and short) and didn't find that it did anything for me. The history winner, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy, sounds educational, but the Cold War ranks right up there with World War II and the Civil War as a subject I can never summon much interest in.
Anybody else read any of these winners? Have different thoughts about them? Oh, and this morning I have a question by email from my sister (she just asked me, but I figured, why not harness the power of technology for better answers), asking if I am familiar with and/or have an opinion about Joyce Carol Oates. I don't have an opinion, as it happens. Does anyone? The only book of hers I've read is Zombie, which was a decidedly icky horror novel, but I don't know that it's representative of her usual writing. If one was going to read a couple of Oates books, where should one start?