Saturday, July 13, 2019

50 Things To Do Before I'm 50 | Read all the Pulitzer Prize Winners in Fiction (1948-2018)

I am so excited to say that I've just completed the last of the Fiction Pulitzer Prize Winners, all 64 books from 1948 (when the novel category was changed to fiction) through last year's winner! I have to admit that I'm pretty proud of myself for sticking with this goal and actually reading all these books. While I'm an avid reader, I discovered that many of these prize winners are out of my comfort zone or contain boring (or no definitive) storylines.

The final book I read was the 1,106-page Executioner's Song by Norman Mailer. This huge tome is a very well-researched fictionalized account of the life and crimes of Gary Gilmore, including his execution in the state of Utah in 1977. The book is divided into two sections: Part One follows the story of Gary Gilmore from the time he is released from prison until he is returned to prison a few months later after he commits two cold-blooded murders; Part Two of the book introduces a host of additional characters from the court-appointed attorneys to the prison warden to other convicts as they debate the merits of execution and Gary Gilmore's adamant desire to be executed (by firing squad) rather than live out his life in prison.

Despite the abundance of sexually explicit scenes and strings of profanity, part one of the book was interesting and moved along quickly. However, the second part of the book drug along and seemed never ending as attorneys rushed to appeal the sentencing despite the convict's stated desire not to appeal! It was somewhat of a relief when he was finally executed. The story wrapped up with a quick review of where the other main characters ended up ... although there wasn't much to tell since this book was written within three years of the execution. This is not a book I would recommend unless you're researching prison life and legal executions.

As I check this item off my list of 50 Things To Do Before I'm 50, there's the short list of books below that I truly enjoyed and would consider reading again (click any title to read my review or click HERE to see my review of all the books I read to complete this goal). 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The Caine Mutiny by Herman Wouk
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The Way West by A.B. Guthrie
The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry


  1. You certainly should be proud! It was an incredible goal, and I'm quite sure I would have given up on some of the books you read. The short list is an interesting one. I loved all three of the books I've read on that list: To Kill a Mockingbird, All the Light We Cannot See, and The Killer Angels.

  2. That's quite an accomplishment Melissa! I have no desire to read the majority of those books. I did read To Kill a Mockingbird and The Old Man and The Sea decades ago - maybe for high school or college. Read All the Light We Cannot See more recently and truly enjoyed that one! Given that The Killer Angels made both your and Karen's approved reading lists, I may have to check that one out!

  3. Yay for you for sticking to your goal. I am sure the breadth of books you read was very good for you.

    My reading lists tend to be revised and/or ignored before I get very far into them. In fact, I am still on the first of my Summer Reading mysteries that I blogged about months ago. In fact, I've not done much reading this summer at all.

  4. Yeah for you for getting through a difficult book. It's not the type I'd read. I'm in the middle of Michelle Obama's book Becoming.

  5. Well done for completing such an incredible challenge!


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