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The Pulitzer Prize has been bestowed upon many novels that have depicted scenes from great wars. But the first of these novels was Willa Cather's One of Ours, the story of a sensitive Nebraska youth who aches for a good reason to leave his farm and family behind. Carly and Dusty have had mixed feelings about the other Cather novels they have read in the past, but they mostly agree that this is one of the author's lesser efforts.

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You can find this book at--

Amazon.com. We read the free Kindle edition.

We recommend pairing this book with--

A glass of milk. Kick your legs up after a long day's work like an early twentieth-century Nebraska farmhand, enjoying the fruit of your labor.

Our Goodreads ratings:

Carly: ***; Dusty **

Save

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In 1921, the Pulitzer committee made a rare choice to embrace controversy and bestowed the award upon Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence. Today, the book is considered a classic, but at the time critics dismissed it as an old-fashioned yarn and an expat's unflattering denunciation of the United States' backwardness.

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You can find this book at--

Amazon.com. We read the free Kindle edition.

We recommend pairing this book with--

Brandy! It calms our nerves when we observe poorly-bred young people showing no respect for manners and tradition.

Our Goodreads ratings:

Carly: ***; Dusty *****

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Considered by some Booth Tarkington's masterpiece, Alice Adams (1921) won the author a second Pulitzer prize and ensured his status as one of the United States' most prominent writers of the 1920s.

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You can find this book at--

Amazon.com. We read the free Kindle edition.

We recommend pairing this book with--

Lemonade. It's sure to quench your beau's thirst when he comes over for a hot summer dinner party.

Our Goodreads ratings:

Carly: ***; Dusty ***

Save

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In 1919, Booth Tarkington won the first of his two Pulitzer Prizes for this novel about the rise of the automobile industry and the fall of the wealthy but undisciplined Amberson clan. Perhaps you recognize the title from Orson Welles's well-liked 1942 film adaptation?

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You can find this book at--

Amazon.com. We read the free Kindle edition.

We recommend pairing this book with--

Mineral water. Because what better represents the needless spending of money?

Our Goodreads ratings:

Carly: ***; Dusty *****Save

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Join us for a discussion of James McGrath Morris' definitive work on the life of Joseph Pulitzer. His book, Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print and Power, goes in depth into the man behind the prize. 

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We recommend pairing this book with--

A Mudslide, in honor of how Pulitzer was viewed by history. Get a recipe here.  

Our Goodreads ratings:

Carly: ***; Dusty *****

Save

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We return after a long hiatus with a new season and a new challenge!

With this episode, we begin working our way through all the winners of the Pulitzer Prize for the Novel (later renamed the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction). First up is the inaugural winner, His Family (1917), by the journalist Ernest Poole.

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You can find this book at--

Amazon.com. We read the free Kindle edition.

We recommend pairing this book with--

Coffee, which our protagonist, Roger Gale, is "famous" for bringing on family picnics. We presume it's strong.

Our Goodreads ratings:

Carly: ***; Dusty ****

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Happy 2015! In this episode, recorded in early January, we take a look back at the best books we read in the previous year and a look ahead at the kinds of books we hope to read in the new one. We also chat about Mark Zuckerburg's new book club, which is kicking the year off with Moisés Naím's The End of Power (2014), and bicker a bit about the merits of reading nonfiction--even when it's going to be a downer. (Apologies to Cris Beam: In the episode, Dusty mistakes the book's title for To the End of July instead of To the End of June.)

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In our last episode of 2014, we share some thoughts on Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series, which is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary. Dusty adored the series (but not the Disney movie) as a teenager, but this is Carly's first romp in the company of Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper of Caer Dallben, Princess Eilonwy, Gurgi, and the other characters populating Alexander's memorable fantasyland. What makes the series worth reading half a century after its first printing? How does it stack up against the young adult fantasy novels that are today so popular? Tune in for our answers to these and many more questions.

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With the end of the year approaching, we take a look at two successful books published in 2014 and the finalists for the National Book Award. Specifically, Carly introduces Gary Krist's Empire of Sin, and Dusty introduces Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman. Along the way, we discuss how we experience reading fiction differently than nonfiction, when it's okay for an author to embellish historical facts, and how two books that seem so very different can have quite a lot in common. Do you have a favorite book published in 2014?

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In this special episode, we share our thoughts about the Boston "Literary Landmarks" walking tour that we took together on a very rainy day this past October. We discuss a number of authors and other literary figures, including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Louisa May Alcott, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. The episode includes several minutes of audio we recorded "live" in Boston as well as a very special announcement from Carly. We hope you enjoy!

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We return in this episode to talk through an emotion we confront surprisingly often in our reading lives--guilt. Should you feel guilty about taking too long to read certain books or not enjoying some of the books your favorite authors have written? Is guilt always a negative force, or can it sometimes make you a better reader and person? We also address some recent developments in the reading world, including the announcement that Margaret Atwood's new book won't be available until a hundred years from now.

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As promised, here is the infographic from the National Reading Campaign:

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Chris Weitz is best known for directing and co-directing movies like American Pie (1999), About a Boy (2002), The Golden Compass (2007), and Twilight: New Moon (2009). In his first novel, The Young World (2014), he follows the latter two movies into the underworlds of YA fiction, depicting New York City in a not-so-distant future when all the adults have died and the responsibilities of staying civilized have fallen squarely on the shoulders of the teens who have survived them. The book is the first in a trilogy--though, as you'll quickly figure out, we're not sure we'll return for books two and three.

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In the episode, we also make reference to the following texts:

00:00. Chris Weitz's films
02:05. About a Boy (the movie)
02:45. About a Boy (the book by Nick Hornby)
04:40. The Golden Compass (Phillip Pullman)
05:05. Novels by as actors or musicians: Wildwood (Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis) & A Vision of Fire (Gillian Anderson)
06:00. Twilight series (Stephanie Meyer)
06:35. Hello, Darling, Are You Working? (Rupert Everett)
13:10. Law & Order (TV show)
14:15. Twilight series (again)
15:10. Percy Jackson & Kane Chronicles series (Rick Riordan)
17:45. Norman Rockwell
17:50. Logan's Run & The Road Warriors (movies)
18:55. The Lord of the Flies (William Golding)
21:10. The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)
26:40. The Giver (Lois Lowry)
26:55. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
28:35. The Hunger Games (again)
28:45. Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling)
29:25. History of triologies: Hunger Games, Divergent series (Veronica Roth), Matched (Ally Condie), Uglies  (Scott Westerfeld), Oedipus cycle (Sophocles), Godfather, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Spider-Man, X-Men
30:55. The Lord of the Rings series (J.R. Tolkien)
31:40. Twilight (movies) & Hunger Games (movies)
37:05. Twilight (book, yet again)
38:10. The Cat who Covered the World (Christopher S. Wren)
42:15. The Cuckoo's Calling (J.K. Rowling)

As a reminder, in the month of September we are challenging ourselves to read only books that are currently in our possession (or already requested at the library). Let us know if you'll be joining us by leaving a comment on Podbean, Facebook, iTunes, or our new LitWit group at Goodreads. We hope you'll get in touch with us, and happy reading!

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