Tag Archives: Pulitzer Prize winner

“It tells the stories of two revolutions.”

Revolutions, indeed. This book is about Revolutionary War era hero Alexander Hamilton, whose picture is on our ten-dollar bill.  It’s also about the revolutionary way his story is told by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who uses hip-hop, harpsichords, and a largely non-Caucasian … Continue reading

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“Felicity rubbed a bit between her fingers. It was gray, just grit.”

This is how the great-granddaughter of Iowa farmers Walter and Rosanna Langdon describes what’s left of the topsoil on the original family farm when she visits it in the closing pages of The Last Hundred Years Trilogy by Jane Smiley.  … Continue reading

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“Rosa was a perfect example of an only child, thought Claire – she behaved herself, but it was because she was always on the stage and the lights were always up. “

If you were a novelist, what compliment would you most like to see in a review of your work?  A comparison to Tolstoy, perhaps? That compliment was in fact given in the British newspaper, the Guardian, in a review of … Continue reading

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“Children rarely want to know who their parents were before they were parents, and when age finally stirs their curiosity there is no parent left to tell them.”

This memoir by Russell Baker encourages readers to write their stories for the generation that hasn’t yet asked for them.  He shows us why he believes this: he will always regret not knowing better the person who told him how … Continue reading

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“Poems arrive ready to begin. Poets are only the transportation.”

So often, I see my students take an adversarial stance when they sit down to write. They use phrases such as “grinding it out” and “forcing it” to describe how they work. Sometimes that’s been my experience, too. But does … Continue reading

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“I had to live on the lip of a waterfall, exhausted.”

You might expect a coming-of-age book to have a plot, to describe the who-what-when-where-how-and-why. But Annie Dillard is not a typical person, nor is her book a typical memoir. She concentrated on describing how she wanted to notice and remember … Continue reading

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“. . . now I understand that it was not so ordinary after all.”

With his wonderful metaphors and his trademark compassion, Ted Kooser is a poet with many gifts. The gift that I appreciate most is his ability to look at ordinary things — rain, clouds, trees — and see what no one … Continue reading

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