pulitzer prize novels

I’ve seen a look in dogs’ eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that dogs think humans are nuts.
—  John Ernst Steinbeck Jr. (1902-1968) American writer widely known for the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Grapes of Wrath (1939) and East of Eden (1952) and the novella Of Mice and Men (1937). He was an author of twenty-seven books including novels, non-fiction, and five collections of short stories. Steinbeck received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962.

Robert Penn Warren (April 24, 1905 – September 15, 1989) 

American poet, novelist, and literary critic and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He founded the influential literary journal The Southern Review with Cleanth Brooks in 1935. He received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for the Novel for his novel All the King’s Men (1946) and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. He is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry. (Wikipedia)

From our stacks: Dust jackets from All the King’s Men By Robert Penn Warren. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1946 and World Enough and Time. A Romantic Novel. Robert Penn Warren. New York: Random House, 1950.

A post wherein film writer Kimberly Luperi explores Anna May Wong’s perseverance in the face of racial discrimination.

Anna May Wong did not have it easy in Hollywood. Despite her talent and ambition, the first international Chinese-American star faced racial roadblocks that motivated her to fight for better minority representation onscreen.

Young Wong frequented downtown Los Angeles film sets, earning the nickname “curious Chinese child.” At 17, she landed the lead in the two-color Technicolor feature THE TOLL OF THE SEA (‘22). Her casting was a triumph in itself, as actresses like Mary Pickford generally played Asian women in “yellowface.” Wong’s nuanced, mature performance stunned, but to her chagrin, film producers subsequently offered her degrading “dragon lady” parts. In her 1933 interview I Protest, she pondered: “Why is it that the screen Chinese is nearly always the villain?… We are not like that.“

Dissatisfied, Wong sailed to Europe, where audiences recognized her talents. When the esteemed star returned stateside in 1930, not much had changed, and film producers still paradoxically perceived her as either "too Chinese” or “too American.” For Wong, the final straw was "one of the most notorious cases of casting discriminations in the 1930s” – the Chinese lead role in THE GOOD EARTH ('37) going to German-born Luise Rainer.

After reading Pearl S. Buck’s Pulitzer-Prize winning novel in 1931, Wong longed for the role of O-Lan and the mainstream breakthrough it would afford her. Lobbying on her behalf started in 1933, but still Wong struggled against biases within both Hollywood and the Chinese community. For associate producer Albert Lewin, Wong “did not fit his conception of what Chinese people looked like.” At the same time, the Chinese government pressed against her involvement.

Wong’s hopes of winning the role faded altogether when Paul Muni landed the male lead. At the time, the Production Code forbade actors of different races from engaging in romantic partnerships on screen. These strict miscegenation guidelines held even though Austro-Hungarian-born Muni had won a role as a  Chinese character. Whether film producers offered Wong the unfavorable supporting part of Lotus is unclear, but she wouldn’t have accepted anyway, as she told Modern Screen in 1937: ”… You’re asking me - with Chinese blood - to do the only unsympathetic role in the picture featuring an all-American cast portraying Chinese characters.“

Though disappointed, Wong put the bigotry behind her, visited China for the first time and returned determined to enhance the portrayal of Chinese characters by declaring she’d only accept positive parts. The Chinese-American community welcomed the news, as Chinese-American media often blamed Wong for accepting the stereotypical roles handed her. A journalist once wrote of Wong, "She has done more than enough to disgrace the Chinese race.” Wong just couldn’t win.

But she tried. Shot on modest budgets with little risk of financial failure, two Paramount B-pictures, DAUGHTER OF SHANGHAI ('37) and KING OF CHINATOWN ('39), offered Wong “progressive and unusual roles.” In DAUGHTER OF SHANGHAI (’37), Wong plays a daughter of a man murdered by smugglers. To avenge her father, she goes undercover, helps solve the crime and exposes the racket. Wong thought of the role as the best she’d had to date. Then, in KING OF CHINATOWN (’39), Wong plays a brilliant female surgeon who later brings medical supplies to China to aid the war relief.

On the war front, Wong assisted the Sino-Japanese war effort onscreen in the early 1940s with top billed performances in Poverty Row pictures BOMBS OVER BURMA (’42), as a teacher, and THE LADY FROM CHUNGKING (’42), as a guerilla leader in command of a regiment of men. Wong donated salaries from both films to the China War Relief Fund.

Though Wong never fully overcame the racial hurdles she faced, she fought unjust discrimination with dignity, resilience and conviction.

Book Recommendations

We’ve received a few messages asking about our summer book recommendations. Our list contains literary classics as well as a selection of coming-of-age books, which are great for that extra-long summer before matriculating into the university.  

In no particular order of preference, here is our list:

1. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The millennial generation is infamously noted as being more vain than generations past.  Dorian Gray explores the idea that beauty isn’t everything, and that, in the words of Beyoncé, “pretty hurts.”

2. Animal Farm by George Orwell

A satirical novella about the Soviet Union during the Stalin era, Animal Farm brings together the best parts of fairy tales and history. It proves, using farm animals as the main characters, that “no one man pig should have all that power.”

3. Catcher in Rye by J.D. Salinger

Some regard Holden Caufield as a sympathetic character, while others say he’s a spoiled brat.  Either way, they’re missing the core subject of the book: coping with the passage of time and the loss of innocence and childlike wonder.  This is a good coming-of-age tale that’s worth reading if you haven’t already!

4. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

In this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Tartt describes the coming of age of protagonist Theo Decker.  After the death of his mother, Theo must struggle to navigate the challenges of adolescence alone.  Theo makes it to adulthood by the end of the novel, but it isn’t an easy ride.

5. The Magicians by Lev Grossman

In The Magicians, Grossman creates a magical world to rival Harry Potter.  The reader follows the adventures of Quentin Coldwater as he transforms into a magician and adult. This fast-paced read is not only entertaining, but also speaks to larger themes of literature’s place in one’s life. 

6.  The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

What do the Ferris Wheel and murder have in common?  The 1893 World’s Fair.  Leading up to 1893 Chicagoans felt they had to amaze the world following the unveil of the Eiffel Tower at the previous World’s Fair.  In the shadows of the beauty and innovation of the Fair, a murderer lurks. 

7. The Chicago Manual of Style 

In this eminent style guide, the University of Chicago Press outlines the proper usage of the English language.  While it may not always be the most stimulating read, it adds clarity and precision to your prose.

i can’t with this bitch acting as if she published a pulitzer prize winning novel for a piece that claims taylor swift said “jake your turn!” after a performance of we are never ever getting back together


As Women’s History Month draws to a close, this week we take a look at the 1985 film adaptation of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Color Purple.  The story centers on Celie Harris Johnson as she struggles to find her voice and self-confidence while coming of age in the American South during the first half of the twentieth century. 

While the narrative of The Color Purple is told from Celie’s point of view, there are two other female characters - Nettie, Celie’s beloved sister, and Shug, the mistress of Celie’s husband Albert - whose histories are essential to the plot but unknown to Celie and, thus, the audience.  To help convey the lives of Nettie and Shug and weave their stories seamlessly into the narrative without leaving Celie’s story, director Steven Spielberg relied on production designer J. Michael Riva and his crew in the art department.  Working from Menno Meyjes’ screenplay, Riva set out to fashion props that would help encapsulate, in an economical and strikingly visual way, the backstories that, once revealed, become pivotal in the propulsion of the film’s narrative. 

To illustrate the part of Shug’s life to which Celie is not privy, Riva and his department created a scrapbook of letters, fliers and sheet music that reflected her life on the road as an entertainer. The scrapbook pages show a side of Albert that is not obvious to Celie or the audience – that he adored Shug and cared enough to collect the mementos of her career.  They show too Shug’s love for Celie, as the sheet music for “Miss Celie’s Blues” reveals that she performs a song in Celie’s honor.   

Using only ink, stationery and vintage postage stamps, the art department also made Nettie’s rich life in Africa come alive.  The variations of fading and discoloration of the correspondence help indicate the passage of time, and the authentic stamps and postmarks trace Nettie’s travels across the African continent, including the Belgian Congo, French Equatorial Africa, Rhodesia and Zanzibar.  Although the letters are only shown briefly onscreen, the detail with which they are imbued implies Nettie’s disparate life and her devotion to Celie throughout the decades they were separated.

For The Color Purple, J. Michael Riva and his team made hidden worlds visible and believable by creating tangible artifacts of the characters’ lives and histories. The artists conducted more than a year of research to achieve authenticity on the production design and set decoration aspects of the film, and their work was recognized with an Academy Award nomination, one of eleven the film received overall.

Help us build the world’s premier motion picture museum.

Review: The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch was written by Donna Tartt and published in 2013. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2014. The novel follows a boy named Theo Decker who is caught in a terrorist attack at the MET with his mother. His mother dies in the explosion and he steals a famous painting of a goldfinch. The novel follows Theo into manhood and explores how this event shapes him and impacts him for the rest of his life. The repercussions of stealing the painting are also explored as well as his connection to it.

What a story! This was utterly fantastic. This is a work of true literary fiction. I was so absorbed in this story. It wasn’t ‘fast paced’ so to speak, but it was so hard to rip myself away from. Theo’s story was very well realized. When reading it, I forgot I was reading because it felt like I was experiencing all these things. The world around me would fade away. This was a long book, but I never felt like there was anything unnecessary that could have been cut out. The themes explored were great such as how one event can have such a strong impact on how our lives play out and how some things could potentially be fated. The theme of family and people feeling like family even without blood ties was strong in this book. Many characters were either orphans or somewhat abandoned by their parents/parent and have to seek out non familial attachments. The message that life may be filled with obstacles and might be very difficult, but that it is worth living anyways was great. I also loved the inclusion of the painting and about how art impacts us. Theo in a way was the goldfinch forever tethered to this event and to this painting.

All the settings were so palpable and great in this novel. Donna Tartt is truly a gifted novelist. The Goldfinch mostly takes place in New York City, but there are also sections in Las Vegas and Amsterdam. All were done wonderfully.

Oh the characters! They were the heart and soul of this novel. This is a very character driven novel. The whole novel is from Theo’s first person perspective, which I loved. I got so used to his voice and he seemed so real to me. I couldn’t help but understand him and relate to him even if he was quite a different person to myself in some respects. I’m realizing that I quite like a first person perspective, it seems so personal. All the characters were very well realized in this novel. Some that stuck out to me in particular were Boris and Hobie. Boris was Theo’s best friend for awhile you could say. He was not a good influence on him, but yet there was something so exciting and free about him. Hobie ended up being a kind of father figure to Theo and you couldn’t help, but love him. I was sad about the way Theo’s romantic life worked out. I so badly wanted it to work out a certain way, but I see that Donna Tartt wrote what she did for a reason and that it ended the way it was supposed to.

Did I Like It?:
I loved this! I had been curious about Donna Tartt for awhile because I had heard such great things about her novels, but I never put her on my to read list because to be honest none of her plots appealed to me. Then someone I know leant me this book and I was kind of pressured into reading it. I am so glad I did! This was one of the best reading surprises for me. This was just a magnificent piece of art in it’s own way.

Do I Recommend It?:
So highly! Even if at first it doesn’t appeal to you, you may truly find yourself a reading gem. I would say that if you are looking for a piece of fiction that can truly be called literary fiction at it’s finest, read this.



Coates, backed by artist Brian Stelfreeze, is now writing a yearlong arc for Black Panther called “Nation Under Our Feet.” The story, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel A Nation under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration, will involve the hero dealing with a violent uprising in Wakanda, Black Panther’s home country. 

The timing couldn’t be better; Black Panther is also set to make his debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Captain America: Civil War next May.

Be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world, even though you have done nothing to deserve it.
—  Paul Harding, Tinkers
Banned Books Week / 2014

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The Library of Congress created an exhibit, “Books that Shaped America,” that explores books that “have had a profound effect on American life.” Below is a list of books from that exhibit that have been banned/challenged.

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

Molly, I need some advice or kind guidance. With the whole Tom and Elizabeth thing coming to light, I'm just feeling a little broken? Like my safe place to go and daydream seems broken and taken away from me. Like, it's now poisoned by my own feelings about myself. How in all the stories I read or AU's that I come up with, I think that'll never happen to me. It bothers me that if I ever met Tom, I wouldn't even get a second glance? Like, It shouldn't bother me but it does.

One, daydreams shouldn’t make you sad. Two, the rumor and supposed pictures of Tom dating Elizabeth make his possible relationship with you no less likely of happening than before. Like, seriously. Fangirling is an act of fantasy. Reader insert stories are an act of fantasy. They’re professionals and actors and busy and aren’t going to bang some random chick that they met trying on a suit or on a photo op or whatever. Tom does Shakespeare, not porn.

So. If your happiness is tied up in the thought that maybe, someday, you and Tom are going to meet and have a happy relationship, you have a problem because you can’t make your happiness dependent on someone else. That’s not healthy and it’s not good for you. You need to figure out how to be happy with Tom being nothing more than a masturbatory illusion or daydream to while away a few spare moments during the day.

Tom and Elizabeth (whether or not that is real) should have no effect on your daydreams because they are just as likely of coming real now as they were two weeks ago: not at all. They are daydreams. That’s it.

You’re not going to date Tom Hiddleston. I mean, really. I understand that you’re sad, because I had the same reaction when Benedict Cumberbatch got engaged, because even though I am exultantly happy in my own marriage and I knew Benedict and I were never going to meet and fall in love, there was that tiny little part of my brain wearing a tin-foil hat and rocking back in forth in the darkest corner of the closet muttering, “It could have been me, it could have been meeeeeee.” That was the moment I knew I needed to step back a bit. I had a similar reaction to all the stage door photos of Richard when he was doing The Crucible. I stepped back. I reinvested that energy in myself and in my marriage and in my son. 

So let’s be real. There is one Tom Hiddleston and 45 million screaming fangirls (number pulled out of my butt) and with those odds, it isn’t going to happen. 

But do you know what could happen? Meeting someone awesome in your town. If you feel like you’re not going to merit a second glance from a celebrity that you think isn’t going to be interested in you, you’re also saying to yourself, “I’m not worthy of romantic attention.” That’s what makes me sad. That’s what I think is important in your message. 

You need to learn to love yourself. You need to believe in yourself. And you need to do it for you, not for a guy. Guys come and go, but you’re stuck with yourself for your whole life, so it makes sense to love you. Do you have a vision in your head of the person you want to be? Good! If not, figure that out. Write it down. Make a vision board or use Pinterest to give yourself some inspiration. And then work on closing the distance between where you are and who you want to be. Pick one small thing you want to change and work on it until you have it down as a habit. Do you want to be a yogi? Set your alarm twenty minutes earlier each morning and do your yoga workout first thing until you stop grumbling and get to the point where you can’t imagine starting the day without a sun salutation. And when that is part of who you are, move on to the next step. Be the person that reads all the Pulitzer prize winning novels or bakes her own bread or always has painted toenails. I don’t care what it is, but you do. You know who are you now, and you have a vision of who you want to be in the future. Well, little caterpillar, it’s time to get to work. It’s hard and it can be dark at times, but if you want to be a butterfly, you have to spin your cocoon. You need to learn to put fangirling in a safe place in your life; a place where Tom is an inspiration to live your life to the fullest and go after your own goals and achieve your destiny, and not use him as a distraction from the things in your life that make you unhappy and that you don’t want to work on.

Tumblr has changed my life. Literally. I’ve unlearned so much problematic shit in the last three years and I’ve learned so many new things. I’m less judgmental. I’m more loving and kind. I love myself more. I love my body more. Richard and Tom were huge parts of that. Richard made me realize how much I loved writing and how far away I was from where I wanted to be skillwise. Tom gave me the courage to actually write and put it out there and learn from others and go after a dream. Tom should inspire you; not depress you.

So please; don’t worry about a possible relationship of a celebrity. Don’t worry at all. This is such a great moment for you because you’ve verbalized that your safe space has been taken away and broken, and that you feel poisoned by your own feelings about yourself. You have identified the problem, and that is always the first step to fixing it. That’s where you should focus. You’ve been kicked out of the nest, little bird. Now’s your time to learn how to fly.