Pulitzer Prize winners

When I first read Pilgrim as a college freshman, I’d never encountered anything like Dillard’s genre-defying reflections on the changing seasons in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. This is a book that changed my life.
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This big, fat, Pulitzer-winning novel has been on my radar for years, so I chose it as one of my 2016 Reading Challenge picks to inspire myself to finally cross it off the list. It's not the kind of book I expected to love: the story revolves around a 3000 mile cattle drive from a dusty Texas border town to the unsettled lands of Montana in the 1880s. Yet I enjoyed it so much. I listened to the audio version of this one (all 36 hours of it—although thankfully at 1.5x speed it didn't take *quite* that long).
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I'm currently making my way through Chernow's massive Hamilton biography—the one that inspired the musical—and Chernow can write. This is the next big fat historical biography on my list. If you love Doris Kearns Goodwin, you'll love Chernow.
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This work from Harvard sociologist and MacArthur Genius grant recipient Desmond is one of the latest award winners. With painstaking detail, Desmond takes his reader into the heart of Milwaukee, illuminating current economic and sociological conditions through the lens of eight different families on the edge, and the conditions that are undoing them. Heartbreaking, powerful, eye-opening.
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I love Lahiri and reading the description (and excellent reviews) on this collection makes me want to bump it to the top of my list. From Publishers Weekly: "Lahiri's touch in these nine tales is delicate, but her observations remain damningly accurate, and her bittersweet stories are unhampered by nostalgia."
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From the publisher: "From Louisa May Alcott's beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has animated the character of the absent father, March, and crafted a story "filled with the ache of love and marriage and with the power of war upon the mind and heart of one unforgettable man" (Sue Monk Kidd). With "pitch-perfect writing" (USA Today), Brooks follows March as he leaves behind his family to aid the Union cause in the Civil War. His experiences will utterly change his marriage and challenge his most ardently held beliefs. A lushly written, wholly original tale steeped in the details of another time, March secures Geraldine Brooks's place as a renowned author of historical fiction." Add Audible narration for $9.99.
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This isn't an easy book to read (and if you struggle through the first half, you're not alone), but persevering readers will be rewarded with one of the most important and beautifully written multicultural historical novels in the American canon. Sethe escaped slavery and fled to Ohio, but her memories stay with her, as does the ghost of her baby. Though she attempts to bury her past, Sethe is thwarted at every turn—most of all when a young woman shows up at her door, bearing the same name as the ghost baby's headstone: Beloved. I can't improve on the publisher's description, which says Beloved is "filled with bitter poetry and suspense as taut as a rope." If you're interested in adding an iconic southern gothic novel to your TBR, look no further.
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From the publisher: "One of the most successful and acclaimed novels of our time, this fictionalized autobiography of Daisy Goodwill Flett is a subtle but affecting portrait of an everywoman reflecting on an unconventional life. What transforms this seemingly ordinary tale is the richness of Daisy's vividly described inner life--from her earliest memories of her adoptive mother to her awareness of impending death."
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An incredible modern classic. From The Nation: “The Color Purple is about the struggle between redemption and revenge. And the chief agency of redemption, Walker is saying, is the strength of the relationships between women: their friendships, their love, their shared expression."
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