Dave's Pulitzer Reviews 1970 - 1979
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The Collected Stories by Jean Stafford
Another book of short stories. Ya know, I usually like books of short stories. Didn't like Porter's book and didn't like this on. Sorry.

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
This started slow for me, but warmed up at the end. I find Stegner somewhat tiresome for casual reading. He tries too hard to write "lit-er-a-choor". He is writing a book about a guy who is writing a book about a grandmother who wrote short stories. Hmmm. He does have one quote that I liked - "He adhered to the doctrine that when you take something you want, and damn the consequences, then you had better be ready to accept whatever consequences ensue." If you are a fan of Barbara Kingsolver, you will probably like this one.

The Optimists by Eudora Welty
I first read Welty in college, I wasn't blown away; and am still not. This is a great set piece about all those unspoken social dynamics that happen in a family.

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
This is only nominally a civil war story. Mostly it is charater sketches of the indiviuals involved in the Battle of Gettysburg. It is based in fact and history; Shaara only imagines the thoughts and motives of the charaters. Reccomended. As usual, I did a little research around the book/author. Shaara died soon after this book was published, but his son Jeffery, has taken up story. Jeffery Shaara has published a prequel and a sequel to "Angels". The films "Gods and Generals", and "Gettysburg" are based on the books.

Humboldt's Gift by Saul Bellow
When I started reading this I had the strangest feeling of deja vu that I had read this before. What I guess is that I scanned it before returning it to the library a year ago. This was another one I just could not get thru. Bellow is quite talky and although the story is interesting, it drags along. This is another one of those "angsty stories about writer". I don't know enough about new American fiction to tell if Bellow was taking a swipe at real people in this book.

Elbow Room by James Alan McPherson
Short stories from the Black prospective. Not bad, but kind of artsy in places. Sometimes the stories seem like fragments. He was the first African American to win the Pulitzer (for the novel). After reading his bio, I see that he is an academic, which is why the stories seem to care more about the theme than character development or a good storyline.

The Stories of John Cheever by John Cheever
1979? Seriously? These stories seem set in a vague period between 1940 and 1960. Cheever was a newspaper columnist and these stories are little East Coast vignettes. Some are good, other not. I admit that I did not read all of them (there are almost 50 in the book). I also found myself thinking about an ex-girlfriend and her family that grew up on the East coast and summered on Cape Cod. As a West coaster, I found it hard to make a connection to the stories. Your mileage may vary.

The 70's was definately a decade where classic storytelling gets lost in the flurry of introspeciton and breast beating. Hmmmm, it also gave us disco. Go figure.

  Dave's Pulitzer Reviews 1970 - 1979
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