To write well, you have to read everything. And by everything I truly mean everything, from shampoo labels to the greats. How can we know how we want to write if we don’t try to mimic those that have come before us? One of the best ways to find the greats is to choose the 88 winners of the Pulitzer Prize winners of fiction.
These books are considered to be the best of the best. Many years ago I set a life goal of reading all of them, this way every year I could look forward to a new one. I haven’t quite gotten there yet, having only read 18 so far. So I figured for today’s Top Ten Tuesday Free-be I would share my favorite Pulitzer winners and why they are my favorite.
10. All the Light We Cannot See. 2015 I actually picked this one up before I even knew it was a winner. It’s a beautiful book. I just had all kinds of warm fuzzies after reading this one.
9. A Visit From the Goon Squad 2011 I found this one to be another beautiful read. Multiple short stories that interlock like a beautiful puzzle.
8. Empire Falls 2002 I think the reason why I love this book so much is that I can relate to the main character. Leaving a life that you already know, for a life where you think you might be happy is a scary thing. I did it when I was 18. Leaving New York with nothing but my guitar and a suitcase for California. Only Miles does it as a middle aged man, with a daughter. The story follows his journey to come to the decision to leave.
7. Middlesex 2003 This was one of the first Pulitzers that I read. It’s a beautiful story about family secrets and finding yourself.
6. Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love 1990 This is a beautiful story of the Cuban American Culture. I swear I could hear the music through the pages.
5. The Color Purple 1983 The story of the unbreakable bond of sisters. It doesn’t matter how far apart they are, there are some bonds that can’t be broken.
4. To Kill a Mockingbird 1961 This is the book that made me love literature.
3. Interpreter of Maladies 2000 I find myself going back and re reading this book from time to time. It’s a lovely collection of short stories focused on the Indian culture here in the US and back in India. Discovering this book in my father’s library was like finding a small piece of treasure.
2. The Old Man and the Sea 1950 This story proves that a great book doesn’t have to be thousands of pages. This really short read is a fantastic tale about an old man battling himself and nature. It emphasizes Hemingway’s Iceburg theory of writing.
1. The Grapes of Wrath 1940 I don’t think any writer has influenced my political and philosophical life philosophy more than the works of John Steinbeck. This book by far is my favorite of his. Though the story takes place during the great depression it is still relevant to today. I often find myself thinking about the lessons I learned while reading this one.
Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you by the Broke and the Bookish.