So I thought it might be interesting today to go through my reading list of Pulitzer fiction winners and see how many of them are already on my bookshelves. I was frankly shocked and a little ashamed to find that I already own probably a dozen of them, all but a few unread. (There are a few boxes that remain unpacked -- and I'm pretty sure that in addition to what I found Ironweed , The Stories of John Cheever, and Breathing Lessons are all lying unread in the garage). There are four additional unread winners that lay in wait on my Kindle. I'm not sure what this says about me. I clearly had an interest in all of these books at one time. My interest in Chabon's Amazing Adventure of Cavalier and Clay was earnest enough that I bought it in hard cover. I have started each and every one of them. I think I've started Middlesex three times. And I'm pretty sure I started and only pretended to finish The Color Purple. I know, I know. What's even more shameful is that two of these unread authors were visitors to George Washington University when I was teaching there. I won't say which ones in case they, like me, have Google Alerts set and might catch wind of this.
As far as I can tell, I've been populating my bookshelves with Pulitzer winners my whole adult life (and then promptly neglecting them). Here's my pile of shame. How many books have you purchased only to leave their spines intact?
Anyway, I'm halfway through Book #1: 2011's winner, A Visit from the Goon Squad, which I'm wishing I'd bought in print because reading footnotes on a Kindle is turning out to be a technological pain in the ass. Can hardly wait to see what happens when I get to the infamous "Powerpoint" chapter...though it's hard to image it would be more effective on paper than on a computer.