Kimberly Reads: The 2024 Pulitzer Prize Reading Challenge

On May 8th, 2024, the Pulitzer Prize in fiction will be announced. The Pulitzer Prize in fiction is awarded to a novel that exemplifies “standards of excellence.” Over 1,400 entries, typically focusing on aspects of American life, are considered for the prize each year, and if no entry meets the high standards set by the six Pulitzer judges, the prize goes unawarded.

The awarded books are usually big sweeping works covering difficult and important topics. Memorable characters and sentences that feel like music are common in the winners, but these books are not what anyone would characterize as light reading (or what one of our patrons refers to as dessert reading). These are books that make you think and reimagine American life.

This year, the Kimberly Library would like to challenge you to read eight of the last twelve recipients. Why the last twelve? For this challenge, we want to stretch our reading in scope and perspective, something the Pulitzer judges have taken to heart in their recent selection. In short, this challenge is about reading breathtaking books that get us outside ourselves, and the latest selections do just that.

If you are ready to join the reading (or listening) challenge, register your participation at the Kimberly Library after April 1st. You will be given a punch card to easily track your progress. Complete four books from the list by September 16th to be entered into our midway prize drawing. Complete an additional four (a total of eight) books from the list by December 30th to finish the challenge and earn an additional prize entry.

But more importantly, you will have read some really great books this year… in between your dessert books, of course. There is always room for dessert. We like dessert. Eat dessert, absolutely. Right after you take on Loise Erdrich’s The Night Watchman or Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. You won’t regret it.

Challenge accepted,
Tracy Haack
Adult Services Librarian