If you have been reading the articles I have posted for the SaddleBrooke Progress and SaddleBrooke Notes, you know by now that the Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries are the funding vehicle that allows our three-library system to continue to buy all the latest books for your reading pleasure. If you have not already joined, please go to sbfsl.org/become-a-member for more information on the benefits of becoming a Friend of SaddleBrooke Libraries.
One area of the libraries that you may not have accessed is the special collections. I had an opportunity to meet with Margaret Betanzos, a volunteer at our SaddleBrooke One library for more than 26 years. She introduced me to the Pulitzer Prize collection that resides in the “back room” fiction area of the SaddleBrooke One library. The collection now boasts every Pulitzer Prize winner from 1980 to the present. Margaret told me that the collection started over 20 years ago when her neighbor told her he was going to read the “Pulitzers” now that he was retired and had the time to do so. Margaret was the fiction book buyer at the time. Thinking Pulitzers would make a great collection, she started buying past Pulitzer winners until the collection was up-to-date.
Think about that for a moment. You have the opportunity to read the best fiction books written in the last 43 years! Visit the ‘80s to find The Executioner’s Song, by Norman Mailer (1980); Rabbit Is Rich, by John Updike (1982); or Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry (1986).
Margaret told me the current usage is “not a lot,” so when you visit the SaddleBrooke One library, go to the “back room” where you can find all of the fiction books. The Pulitzer collection is on a book cart in the middle of the room. It is likely that the Pulitzer you want to read will be available.
Here is a closer look at two of the recent Pulitzer Prize winners that are currently available for your reading pleasure:
Trust, by Hernan Diaz
Pulitzer Prize Winner 2023
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth—all as a decade of excess and speculation ends. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the center of Bonds, a successful 1937 novel that all of New York seems to have read. Yet there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.
Hernan Diaz’s Trust elegantly puts these competing narratives into conversation with one another—and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a novel that spans over a century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.
The Night Watchman, by Louise Erdrich
Pulitzer Prize Winner 2021
Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s grandfather, who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.
In The Night Watchman, Louise Erdrich creates a fictional world populated with memorable characters who are forced to grapple with the worst and best impulses of human nature. Illuminating the loves and lives, the desires, and ambitions of these characters with compassion, wit, and intelligence, The Night Watchman is a majestic work of fiction from this revered cultural treasure.
So take the “plunge” and read that Pulitzer you always wanted to read but never had the time to do so. And, remember, using the libraries and becoming a Friend of SaddleBrooke Libraries helps us answer the question, #How Do You Like Us Now?