Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lay-DEEZ an' GEN-nelman, A New Reading Challenge

For those of you who believe there's always room for another fun reading challenge (and heck, who doesn't believe that!), Rose City Reader has announced the Sunshine Smackdown - Battle of the Prizes.

Cool logo, huh?

With only 3 books required, this is so do-able, even if you are hoping to reduce the pace of life over the summer. The challenge runs May 1 to September 7 (May Day to Labor Day, get it?).

The overall idea is to compare and contrast (my favorite method!) a sample of Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award winners, to get a feel for whether the books from one prize list are more entertaining, more educational, or just plain "better." When all the reviews are posted, it should provide a pretty good sampling from both lists. You know, for future reading.

The best part is: one of the books is a dual winner, so if you are reading the Pulitzers or NBAs already, you get 4 check-offs for reading 3 books. What's not to like about that? I'm psyched!

The rules are posted in detail here. So hustle over there and sign up!

Meanwhile, here are the books I have chosen.

Dual Winner: The Fixer, by Bernard Malamud. I've read The Natural and thought it was awfully well done. Now I am looking forward to testing my fondness for Malamud in a non-baseball context.

National Book Award Winner: The Great Fire, by Shirley Hazzard. I meant to trade this book (it's a paperback copy that C.S. gave me, after replacing it with a hardback upgrade), but every time I touched it, I just couldn't bear to part with it. It's been on the TBR bookcase for a while; now the perfect excuse to prioritize it has arrived.

Pulitzer Prize Winner: Olive Kittridge, by Elizabeth Strout. I admit my head's been turned by the charm of great reviews for this year's winner and a comparison to Winesburg, Ohio. I'm also a sucker for summertime in small-town New England. If I can't be there, at least I can read about it!


  1. I have no idea where you find the time. Jealousy. Could you post the secret???

  2. Thanks for spreading the word! I posted your link.

  3. I'd say small chunks of time are my reading secret, Oreneta. Fifteen minutes here and there really add up. I tend to carry the current book everywhere, just for that reason.

    I also try to stop everything else at 9 or 10 p.m. every night, to read for an hour or so.

    Having challenge goals helps, too (thanks, Rose City!).


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