hippo quiz time

What do Susan Larson (former book editor The Times-Picayune, host of “The Reading Life”), Maureen Corrigan (Georgetown University, book critic, “Fresh Air,” NPR) and Michael Cunningham  (novelist) have in common?

This now notorious trio of gifted and seasoned readers/writers chose not to award a 2012 Pulitzer prize in the fiction category. I was aghast. And befuddled.

(To be fair, though it’s hard to believe, it has happened before.  See the list at end of this post.)

So. The Final Three. Let’s review.

Train Dreams by Denis Johnson is a novella about a day laborer in the old American West, bearing witness to terrors and glories with compassionate heartbreaking calm.
Swamplandia! by Karen Russell is an adventure tale about an eccentric family adrift in its failing alligator-wrestling theme park, told by a 13-year-old heroine wise beyond her years.

The Pale King by the late David Foster Wallace is a posthumously completed novel that explores boredom and bureaucracy in the American workplace.


2012 ~ The Year With No Pulitzer

Phew! 2013 ~ The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson.

The next award will be announced on April 14, 2014.

So many miracles happen every year.

Which one will you be rooting for?


Meet you here next Sunday.

Toni 11/24/13

Day 24


Year Author Title
2013 Adam Johnson Orphan Master’s Son, The
2012 No Award No Award
2011 Jennifer Egan Visit From The Goon Squad, A
2010 Paul Harding Tinkers
2009 Elizabeth Strout Olive Kitteridge
2008 Junot Diaz Brief Wondrous Life Of Oscar Wao, The
2007 Cormac McCarthy Road, The
2006 Geraldine Brooks March
2005 Marilynne Robinson Gilled
2004 Edward P. Jones Known World, The
2003 Jeffrey Eugenides Middlesex
2002 Richard Russo Empire Falls
2001 Michael Chabon Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier and Clay, The
2000 Jhumpa Lahiri Interpreter Of Maladies
1999 Michael Cunningham Hours, The
1998 Philip Roth American Pastoral
1997 Steven Millhauser Martin Dressler
1996 Richard Ford Independence Day
1995 Carol Shields Stone Diaries, The
1994 E. Annie Proulx Shipping News, The
1993 Robert Olen Butler Good Scent From A Stange Mountain, A
1992 Jane Smiley Thousand Acres, A
1991 John Updike Rabbit At Rest
1990 Oscar Hijuelos Mambo Kings Play Songs Of Love, The
1989 Anne Tyler Breathing Lessons
1988 Toni Morrison Beloved
1987 Peter Taylor Summons To Memphis, A
1986 Larry McMurtry Lonesome Dove
1985 Alison Lurie Foreign Affairs
1984 William Kennedy Ironweed
1983 Alice Walker Color Purple, The
1982 John Updike Rabbit Is Rich
1981 John Kennedy Toole Confederacy Of Dunces, A
1980 Norman Mailer Executioner’s Song, The
1979 John Cheever Stories Of John Cheever, The
1978 James Alan McPherson Elbow Room
1977 No Award
1976 Saul Bellow Humboldt’s Gift
1975 Michael Shaara Killer Angels, The
1974 No Award
1973 Eudora Welty Optimist’s Daughter, The
1972 Wallace Stegner Angle Of Repose
1971 No Award
1970 Jean Stafford Collected Stories
1969 N. Scott Momaday House Made Of Dawn
1968 William Styron Confessions Of Nat Turner, The
1967 Bernard Malamud Fixer, The
1966 Katharine Anne Porter Collected Stories
1965 Shirley Anne Grau Keepers Of The House, The
1964 No Award
1963 William Faulkner Reivers, The
1962 Edwin O’Connor Edge Of Sadness, The
1961 Harper Lee To Kill A Mockingbird
1960 Allen Drury Advise And Consent
1959 Robert Lewis Taylor Travels Of Jamie McPheeters, The
1958 James Agee Death In The Family, A
1957 Kenneth Roberts (Honorary Award)
1956 MacKinlay Kantor Andersonville
1955 William Faulkner Fable, A
1954 No Award
1953 Ernest Hemingway Old Man And The Sea, The
1952 Herman B. Wouk Caine Mutiny, The
1951 Conrad Richter Town, The
1950 A. B. Guthrie, Jr. Way West, The
1949 James Gould Cozzens Guard Of Honor
1948 James A. Michener Tales Of The South Pacific
1947 Robert Penn Warren All The King’s Men
1946 No Award
1945 John Hersey Bell For Adano, A
1944 Martin Flavin Journey In The Dark
1943 Upton Sinclair Dragon’s Teeth
1942 Ellen Glasgow In This Our Life
1941 No Award
1940 John Steinbeck Grapes Of Wrath, The
1939 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Yearling, The
1938 John P. Marquand Late George Apley, The
1937 Margaret Mitchell Gone With The Wind
1936 Harold L. Davis Honey In The Horn
1935 Josephine W. Johnson Now In November
1934 Caroline Miller Lamb In His Bosom
1933 T. S. Stribling Store, The
1932 Pearl S. Buck Good Earth, The
1931 Margaret Ayer Barnes Years Of Grace
1930 Oliver LaFarge Laughing Boy
1929 Julia M. Peterkin Scarlet Sister Mary
1928 Thornton Wilder Bridge of San Luis Rey, The
1927 Louis Bromfield Early Autumn
1926 Sinclair Lewis Arrowsmith
1925 Edna Ferber So Big
1924 Margaret Wilson Able McLaughlins, The
1923 Willa Cather One of Ours
1922 Booth Tarkington Alice Adams
1921 Edith Wharton Age of Innocence, The
1920 No Award
1919 Booth Tarkington Magnificent Ambersons, The
1918 Ernest Poole

His Family



November is just the beginning. We’re barreling full speed into the holidays, the time of The Full Cold Moon. Winter cold fastens its grip, nights are at their longest and darkest.


The Moon before Yule. The days are ticking away. Soon we’ll exist in a blur of ruby-red gems, parsnips and pies. I’m surrounded by people who live to eat and respect turkey and its trimmings as much as I do. We’re thoughtful and prepared ~ the road from here to the holiday is paved with parsley, sage, rosemary and, well, you know. We’ll be on it most of the time until 2014.  Gosh.  So many days ahead filled with butter, flour, sugar, chocolate and cream, heavy. And no regrets, trust me on this one.

Cookbooks are my BFFs.  I have a few. Let’s start with Jacques.  He taught me and millions of home cooks how to chop an onion and perfect a cheese soufflé.  Any cook book of his is riddled with genius.


Need a gift?  Want one for yourself?  Pick up one of these ~

MOOSEWOOD was listed by the New York Times as one of the top ten best-selling cookbooks of all time. Sophisticated, easy-to-prepare vegetarian recipes, charming drawings, and pages of beautiful full-color food photography. Healthy and great-tasting food from Molly Katzen.

More than 225 recipes in ROOTS ~ salads, soups, side dishes, main courses, drinks, and desserts ~ that bring out the earthy goodness of veggies from artichokes to yams.


Mark Bittman’s collection is absolutely indispensable for anyone who cooks.

Of course, everything looks better, sounds better, and tastes better in Italian.  We discuss dinner at the breakfast table.  I’m not brilliant in the kitchen but I am an authority on eating.  Italian cookbooks comfort, inspire and satisfy me. 

The holiday season can be a bit overwhelming-intimidating-oh goodness gracious what am I going to make-crazy busy. Just play. Whip up some jolly and unbearably wonderful things.  Make time for deep breathing, a little wine, old movies.  It’s living..and it feels really good.



Meet you here next Sunday.

Toni 11/17/13

Day 17



So, who gets the most ink? 

Initial print runs of Fall 2013 tell the tale.


No Meager Amount

Margaret Atwood’s MaddAddam 

150, 000 copies

The third installment in the Canadian author’s speculative fiction trilogy (“Oryx and Crake,” “The Year of the Flood”). 


Pretty Big

James Patterson’s Cross My Heart


Alex Cross becomes the obsession of a genius of menace set on proving that he is the greatest mind in the history of crime.



Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath

1 million

Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages.


Mad Huge

Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep

1.1 million

Dan Torrance, the child protagonist/hero of “The Shining,” has grown up, still has paranormal powers and is still doing battle with the dark side.



File:Sycamore Row - cover art of hardcover book by John Grisham.jpg

John Grishham’s Sycamore Row

1.5 million

A return to that famous courthouse in Clanton as Jake Brigance once again finds himself embroiled in a fiercely controversial trial.

Bestselling authors get plenty of ink.  So do authors who favor the longer form ~ novels well over 500 pages.

I love big books.

(l), books, harry potter, light


I’m reading this now.


I’m planning on reading this next.


What are some tomes you’ve enjoyed over the years?

What pachydermous pile of ink is on your nightstand?


Meet you here next Sunday.

Toni 11/10/13

Day 10