Monday, June 28, 2010

Reading challenge – read five Pulitzer Prize winning novels this summer!

Sometimes I find it hard to find a “good book” to read. I am a mystery fan and used to love delving into the puzzles and nuances of good detective fiction – trying to figure out whodunit – and often why and when and how. But sometimes even a “good mystery” does not satisfy. So I have been turning to prize winning fiction and non-fiction as a source for titles. This month I was looking at Pulitzer Prize winning fiction – and there are some intriguing titles there that both you and I might want to try.

This year’s winner, Tinkers, by Paul Harding is about an old New England man who is dying. The book travels through his memories of mending and “tinkering” with the clocks that were his occupation. It is a fictional (and thus often profound) look at life and death, suffering and joy and the daily lives that people live.

Last year’s winner, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Stout, is also about a New England family – this time in Maine. Stout has crafted a series of short stories – all taking place in and around the small town where Olive and her husband live – that are connected by common characters and outlook. This is a fine book that I, for one, could not put down, once I got into story number two.

The Pulitzer Prize web site lists all winners and many runners-up – so you have quite a few titles and kinds of works to choose from. If you choose to click on “Back to Categories list” – you can browse through ALL the categories for which a Pulitzer is awarded – Biography, Drama, History, etc., to say nothing of all the award winning newspaper stories and photography that are also the domain of the Pulitzer Prize.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Web Sites for Mystery Lovers

The May 1st issue of Booklist, a library journal devoted to book reviews and recommendations, featured mysteries and included some really good recommendations for online sites for mystery readers. I thought I would share some of these with you.

The Malice Domestic site is dedicated to mysteries that are traditional and “cozy,” as the site’s subtitle “If traditional mysteries are your cup of tea…” alludes to. Malice Domestic provides all kinds of information about their annual convention (next one – April-May, 2011), but also lists all the Agatha Awards given out (since 1988) and is a fun site to just explore.

Sisters in Crime is an organization and a web site dedicated to the promotion and support of women who write mysteries. A really neat feature of Sisters in Crime is their extensive list of Mystery Bookstores and Sisters in Crime (often abbreviated SinC) author web sites. (Check under Resources in the left-hand menu.)

The Mystery Writers of America give out the annual Edgar Awards (and have done since 1946!) and their site contains information about their organization as well as a complete archive of all the winners and nominees for the Edgars.

For a site that tries to pull all of this together - listing award winners and nominees, new books, old titles and much more (over 37,000 titles) try Stop You’re Killing Me. This is a wonderful site for mystery lovers. A very unique Stop You’re Killing Me feature are the indexes. They have an historical index (find mysteries that take place in the Colonial era), a job index (find mysteries that involve an interior decorator), a location index (find mysteries that take place in New Mexico) and more.

The world of mysteries and mystery writers is huge and growing bigger by the day. Perhaps these sites (and your friendly, neighborhood librarian) can help you discover your next mystery to read and enjoy. Meg


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