Participate in the Pulitzer Dialogues
To commemorate the centennial of the Pulitzer Prizes, six libraries from across New Mexico are partnering with the New Mexico Humanities C...
Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Thursday, September 8, 2016
Thursday, September 1, 2016
Saturday, August 27, 2016
Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Saturday, August 20, 2016
Donnelly Library’s Pulitzer Prize Challenge reading group has its first meeting in a little under two weeks on Thursday, September 1. Below are a few questions to think about for the upcoming discussion.
Take a look at the questions and post your own questions or discussion points for this novel in the comments below.
- How does Toni Morrison connect the idea of slavery and the idea of haunting? Is America haunted?
- The novel is a narrative about trauma and recovery. What does it mean to recover from trauma? How does Sethe recover?
- This novel is about the relationships between mothers and daughters. What kinds of relationships do the characters have? How do they change over the course of the novel?
- Is the ghost real?
Thursday, August 18, 2016
Last Tuesday, Octavia Fellin Library in Gallup, New Mexico had its Pulitzer Discussion Group on "The Stories of John Cheever" and while there was some considerable disagreement about the content of the book, there was definitely one unifying belief between our readers: This book is too long. And I can't really dispute that. 700 pages of short stories is a lot for the casual reader. It's a lot for the advanced reader!
So after our discussion, I decided to "shorten" the collection a tad. Largely based on the favorites (or occasional least favorites) of our readers, I've put together a list of 15 Must Read Short Stories from "The Stories of John Cheever." If you are looking for a great book for your book club or discussion group, but this collection seems too daunting, try this, more manageable, selection...
- Goodbye, My Brother
- The Enormous Radio
- O City of Broken Dreams
- Christmas is a Sad Season for the Poor
- The Sorrows of Gin
- The Day the Pig Fell into the Well
- The Five-Forty-Eight
- The Duchess
- The Lowboy
- The Death of Justina
- The Brigadier and the Golf Widow
- An Educated American Woman
- The Swimmer
- The Fourth Alarm
The real benefit of trimming down the book is in the primary complaints I heard about the book from our readers: "It's too long," "All the stories started to blend together," and "I started to forget some of the stories." These are the kind of statements that I dread hearing, and I know that our readers would have gotten more from less.
To really appreciate Cheever, or any short story author, one needs to take their time and enjoy each story individually, like eating a nice desert. I loved "The Stories of John Cheever," and I really wanted others to share that love. But it got to be too much for our readers, like eating way too much of a nice desert. It became hard to really enjoy the flavor. A shorter list like the one above would be easier and more pleasant to digest for anyone interested in reading Cheever for their discussion group or book club.
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
In the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz discusses at great length the forms of power expressed through his masculine characters from the dictator Trujillo and his petty, corrupt officials to the gallivanting Yunior. What does power look like for the women, who are every bit as much protagonists?
Tuesday, August 16, 2016
It's not long now until our first book discussion and we've got a good number of people registered. This novel is so rich it's hard to decide what to focus on. One thing that got my attention right off is the way Louise Erdrich uses dichotomies in The Plague of Doves to create conflict. There are the obvious ones, of course, like indigenous vs. white culture and Christianity vs. the Chippewa religion, but I’m intrigued by the contradictions of the sacred vs. the profane and humor mixed with horror that arise, especially in Mooshum’s stories; in particular, the use of humor before the lynching. I’m looking forward to hearing everyone’s thoughts on these ideas, and more!
Thursday, August 11, 2016
English Prof Leads Pulitzer Prize Reading Group
Las Vegas, N.M – An upcoming reading group at Highlands University will explore five Pulitzer Prize works of fiction that focus on the American experience.
The Pulitzer reading and discussion group begins Sept. 1 and will be led by Highlands University English professor and American literature scholar Brandon Kempner.
“All these novels and collections of short stories show how diverse and complex the American experience truly is, with the authors incorporating a variety of writing styles and perspectives,” Kempner said. “Our goal is to read great literature and have a good time discussing it.”
Kempner said the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction is the oldest and most prestigious American literary award.