Pulitzer Prize scuttlebutt

Posted: February 1, 2011 in Arts & Letters
Tags: , ,

[ASIDE: I can’t believe there are two t’s in “scuttlebutt”! Snicker.]

My inside sources (i.e.: an email I ripped off) tell me these are some of the likely long-list candidates to make the Pulitzer Prize short-list this year:

1. Nemesis by Philip Roth
2. Sourland: Stories by Joyce Carol Oates
3. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
4. Fun with Problems by Robert Stone
5. The Spot by David Means
6. The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
7. Noah’s Compass by Anne Tyler
8. Private Life by Jane Smiley
9. Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich
10. Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
11. Great House by Nicole Krauss
1. The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse
2. Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart
3. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
4. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
5. The Privileges by Jonathan Dee
6. Walking to Gatlinburg by Howard Frank Mosher
7. The Surrendered by Chang Rae-Lee
8. Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch
9. How to Escape from a Leper Colony by Tiphanie Yanique
10. The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
11. I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita
12. Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
13. Parrott and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
14. Wild Child by T.C. Boyle
15. The Widower’s Tale by Julia Glass
16. New York Stories by Ann Beattie

By the way, the second list are books someone, somewhere thought may possibly be in contention. As far as anyone knows, and because nerds have very little else to do but speculate about books.

My prejudicial thoughts:

Philip Roth – I don’t like him. Portnoy, end of story. GROSS.

Joyce Carol Oates – I love her, though she sometimes makes me feel like pulling an Anna Karenina.

Franzen – Give me a break, but he’ll probably win.  He’s cute (love the glasses!), but Freedom was bloated and over-rated. And the ending? Oh, SHUT UP!

A bunch of writers I haven’t read – if I haven’t read them, should they even be considered?

Anne Tyler – I’ve tried and tried and tried, but I just don’t like her books. A firm NO to her, with apologies because she seems very nice.

Jane Smiley – Liked her previous work, but haven’t read this one. Hmm. Maybe.

Cynthia Ozick – BRILLIANT! She deserves it on general principle. So she probably won’t win.

Nicole Krauss – Amazon tells me I’d LOVE her book. And that’s all I got.

Three misc. guys – Haven’t read any of them, heard they’re good.

Jennifer Egan – I interviewed her when her previous book, The Keep, was published. She’s a nice person. Not sure that’s a requirement for a Pulitzer?

Next three – Shrug

Jon Clinch! – I championed his previous book Finn. Now it’s being taught in college courses, along with Huckleberry Finn. Coincidence? Oh, but haven’t read his latest, though I have it at home. It’s been busy, okay? But he deserved it for Finn, though as an upstart of course they wouldn’t give the prize to him. I like him, but he’s doubtful.

“Tiphanie”? Really? Yes, that was petty.

Orringer, Yamashita – I have review copies of both at home. Crossing my fingers for Yamashita, published by Coffee House Press. They’re nice!

Gordon – Don’t know. Is he cute?

Peter Carey – I have review copies of his past TWO books, unread. Big name, but he’s been lauded so many times. A contender, definitely.

T.C. Boyle – Genius! And he lives in a really nice house. I saw it in an interview on CBS Sunday Morning, a program my children call “a grandpa show.” Let’s see if we pay for their college.

Julia Glass – NO! NO! NO!  Read a review copy of her first book and wound up throwing it against the wall with great force. No one with that bad a first novel should be allowed anywhere near a prize, even if I have to restrain her.

Ann Beattie – She’s been around forever, but short stories are so much less popular than novels. With me, namely.

The others I didn’t mention? Meh.

I love guessing book prize winners, even when I haven’t read all the books. I call making decisions without all the information “living on the edge.” Then again, to me ordering anything from a menu that isn’t a tuna melt is akin to bungee jumping.

I’ll go research (SEE: Read Amazon reviews), then give you my suggested choices for the short-list. But if they give it to Franzen someone will need to be hurt. Short of Toni Morrison, NO OPRAH BOOKS!!!


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