Pulitzer Entry #4

Apologies are necessary as I have slackened my reading and blogging in the recent days. I have slowed my novel-consumption, unfortunately, but I feel like even completing 3 novels this month still puts me in striking distance of my goal, given the fact that I also finish this book in a timely manner (possibly today), then starting the next book which I still have yet to choose. An interesting note on that, as I noted before the books that I would be drawn to by the books on the list that would, after this project is over. But another interesting invention I have noticed is the connections I am drawing between books even on the list.

Which brings me to the bulwark of this post, which is to dive deeper into this narrative that I have found many of these American works seem to grapple with. The book I am currently finishing up is March by Geraldine Brooks takes as its subject matter a chaplain during the Civil War. Bringing into it’s scope of themes is the struggle of African-Americans to find their voice in this changing social climate coming, women’s roles in this society and what that says about current gender roles, also faith is a central part of this work (not sure how legitimate her voice is in this endeavor), and she has sprinkled in many interesting characters that she adlibs lines for personalities like Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Brown. Their voices come through authentically, but it seems a little contrived. But I would like to say that even though I can be critical of this work, I have thoroughly enjoyed wrapping up into this wonderful story. I think that this work and the scope of its subject matter and themes will lead me on a path investigating this story woven into the tapestry of American history. I have found it interesting that I haven’t been well-versed in this pain-soaked, character-defining story of America and liberty and courage. My next reads will focus on Civil War and Slavery in the coming reads.

On a side note, in my endeavor to accomplish this task, and by the rigid rules that I have set in place by only being able to procure the books on the list by buying them all second hand, which has been quite difficult. So recently, after my wife Sam was looking at our bank statement online, noticed a charge from Audible.com, an online audio-book distributor that I signed up for a free trial sometime in the late summer. When we noticed that we were still getting charged for it, we decided hastily to cancel the subscription immediate. When Sam finally talked to somone, the person on the line informed us that we had four credits good to download four audio books according to the months we had already paid for. Before canceling, it behooved us to at least get the merchandise that we had already paid for. Given this amazing opportunity, I downloaded four books that I didn’t already have on the pulitzer list.The Wonderful life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz, The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, The Keepers of the House by Shirly Ann Grau, and American Pastoral by Philip Roth. I am not sure how this jives with my ambition to come to own them second hand, but it felt right at the time. My current job puts me in the car a lot, and listening to the books on list seemed like an excellent way to multiply my efficiency. I started listening to Michael Shaara’s The Killer Angels. Being that the subjects in these two books cover the same time frame in deftly different ways through different voices, it feels like they are close cousins and it helps this break-neck project.

Thank you for your time, I promise the writing will get better in future posts.

–joshua

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