The Pulitzer Prizes were announced today and Bob Dylan nabbed one. Not for a particular book for a piece of music. Instead, he was given a special citation “for his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power.” I’m sure Dylan could really care less but it’s well-deserved.
When it comes to the book awards, I am once again among the illiterati, not having read any of the winners or finalists. In fiction, the award went to The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz. Since it also won the National Book Critics Circle Award last month, I may have to pick it up. (Riverhead Books). The other finalists were Tree of Smoke by Denis Johnson (another book that has been on my “maybe” list), and Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Lore Segal.
The history (U.S.) award went to Daniel Walker Howe’s What Hath God Wrought: The Transformation of America, 1815-1848. Earning finalist nods were Nixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek and The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War, the last work by David Halberstam, who died just before its publication. History also made a mark in the general nonfiction category, where The Years of Extermination: Nazi Germany and the Jews, 1939-1945 by Saul Friedländer won with the other finalists being The Cigarette Century by Allan Brandt and The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century by Alex Ross (the latter having won the NBCC award for criticism).
Finally, Eden’s Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by John Matteson won the biography award over The Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein by Martin Duberman and The Life of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader.
Because something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?
“Ballad of a Thin Man,” Bob Dylan, Highway 61 Revisited