I had a great time unraveling Asian works in July. There is really something understated about this genre of literature that sweeps me in. It is my fervent desire to read more of these Asian works in the future. Yes, I will dedicate another Asian literature month in 2020. I guess I’ll have to turn it into tradition.
Following that amazing adventure into the depths of Asian Literature would be quite a tall order. But after contemplating for some time, the perfect idea came to me! Why not dedicate August for Pulitzer Prize-winning books? I have already done a Man Booker Prize month in 2018 so it is quite logical to save a month for Pulitzer Prize winners. Moreover, I am inching towards my 700th read. I have already allotted this slot to a behemoth of a classic, Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind. The gargantuan masterpiece also won the Pulitzer Prize. The stars have aligned for me, to say the least.
So let the reading adventure begin!
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
Kicking off my Pulitzer Prize month is the 2017 winner. Unlike the other two Pulitzer Prize winners I have read for the month, The Underground Railroad is a more recent winner but something that I look forward to, nonetheless. I have a great anticipation of the book, hence, its inclusion in my 2019 Top 20 Reading List. This is my first time reading a work by Colson Whitehead so I barely had an iota on what to expect. If there is one thing I am relying on when I started this work is that it is a historical novel.
Set in Georgia, The Underground Railroad relates the story of Cora, a young slave toiling hard on a cotton plantation who seized the chance to escape from her harrowing ordeals. Lying incognito underneath the Southern Soil is the Underground Railroad, the Negro slave’s passport for a flight towards their freedom which they longed for. But escaping is easier said than done. The fine texture of history and the vivid yet horrific tales of the antebellum era draws the reader in. The novel’s account of this part of American history is astounding.
The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
I followed up The Underground Railroad with a blast from the past through the 1932 winner. Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth was part of my 2018 Big Bad Wolf Book Haul but unfortunately, it was left to eat dust. Making it form part of my Pulitzer Prize month; besides, of the more than 20 books I have purchased from the aforementioned book sale, I was only able to read three or four books so far. Moreover, The Good Earth is one of the books I keep encountering in must-read lists, further piquing my interest in the book.
In stark contrast to The Underground Railroad, The Good Earth is a family saga. With the classical rags-to-riches troupe as its primary plot device, it relates the story of Wang Lung and his ascent from the quagmires of poverty through hard work. Parts historical, parts political, parts philosophical, The Good Earth has many layers to it that simply fascinated the inner literati in me. It also depicted several facets, including the peculiar ones, of Chinese society. A very straightforward story, it is worth your time unraveling through its finely textured narrative.
Current Read: Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
The last book I ventured into for the month is Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind, a book that I have been looking forward to for quite sometime. Its inclusion in many must-read list makes it a savory serving for a momentous 700th read. I mean, come on, who haven’t heard of this behemoth of a classic? It is an enduring classic which remains relevant nearly a century after it was published.
I am already halfway through the book, thankfully and I have already been swept by many and different facets about Deep South culture and American Confederate history. Its fine mix of different elements were elevated by Mitchell’s fine and powerful writing. There are still so much I have to unravel but I can’t wait to witness how everything is going to wind down in the end. You may read more of my first impressions on this literary masterpiece by clicking on this link: First Impression Friday: Gone With The Wind
It was quite a slow moving reading month for me, even for my own standards. However being able to immerse into the depths of literary classics that have copped the Pulitzer Prize is truly a wonderful experience. These three books showed the diversity that exist amongst the many Pulitzer Prize-winning books that I have already read. In many ways, they mirror the Man Booker Prize winners in there diverse and distinct ways of relating their stories but in ways more than one, they also differ.
It is quite fun navigating the technicalities and the aesthetics of such tall works that have earned the accolades of not just award-winning bodies but also of readers all over the globe.
What to look forward to in September…
There is only one thing to look forward to in September and in the rest of the year. It isn’t lost in me that I am lagging behind in my different reading challenges. It is then imperative to tick off these books, with My 2019 Top 20 Reading List being the priority. Fortunately, I am nearly halfway through it; Gone With The Wind is the ninth book I am reading from this list. But there is also the Beat the Backlist 2019 edition which I MUST also clear, although it is going to be quite a tall order. I am hopeful still.
Do look forward to what is in store for the rest of the year.
Reading Challenge Updates:
- My 2019 Top 20 Reading List: 8/20
- Beat The Backlist:4/15
- My 2019 10 Books I Look Forward To List: 4/11
Book Reviews Published in August:
- Book Review # 133: Immortality
- Book Review # 134: Bangkok Wakes To Rain
- Book Review # 135: On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
- Book Review # 136: The Nakano Thriftshop
- Book Review # 137: Botchan