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As a followup of some of my previous diaries, I cannot resist announcing the following award:

A Pulitzer prize for non-fiction for one of my favorite books of all times, one I have recommended tirelessly (and tiresomely, I suppose) "The swerve" by Stephen Greenblatt

And, something I picked up from the BBC about J.R.R. Tolkien and the lack of a Nobel prize

Below the fold, please

First, I have previously written  about how great 'The Swerve' is. To say that this is a book that should be read by every Kossack is a misformulation; I think it should be read by anyone who claims the description 'thinking person'. For those unfamiliar with the work, it is an account of the rediscovery of an ancient Roman Epicurean poem, by a very unlikely set of circumstances and a former apostolic secretary named Poggio Bracciolini, who had a thing about rediscovering works of antiquity. The book tells how the reintroduction of the work was a milestone in the emergence of the enlightenment and the massive step forward of humanity and the world once its ideas started to percolate, and also gives a sad account of how thought and culture and learning descended after the Roman empire declined.

So, from the Pulitzer's own website :

For a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author that is not eligible for consideration in any other category, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).

Awarded to "The Swerve: How the World Became Modern," by Stephen Greenblatt (W.W. Norton and Company), a provocative book arguing that an obscure work of philosophy, discovered nearly 600 years ago, changed the course of history by anticipating the science and sensibilities of today.

But, just in case I start feeling too vindicated that a book I so enthusiastically recommended got a major award, I cannot resist posting this, especially given the content of my last two diaries:

JRR Tolkien snubbed by 1961 Nobel jury, papers reveal

From theBBC

JRR Tolkien was passed over for the 1961 Nobel literature prize after the storytelling in his Lord of the Rings trilogy was described as second rate.

Newly-released documents - declassified after 50 years - show that he was nominated by fellow author CS Lewis.

The Nobel prize jury said "the result has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality".

Yugoslav writer Ivo Andric won for the "epic force with which he has traced themes and depicted human destinies".

Journalist Andreas Ekstrom, who studied the documents this week, reported his findings in Swedish newspaper Sydsvenska Dagbladet.

They feature an original list of about 50 writers - put forward for the award by academics, experts and previous winners - complete with commentary from the prize jury.

Notes relating to the final decision are never released.

The papers also show that British writer Graham Greene - who never won the Nobel - was the jury's runner-up, followed by Karen Blixen, the Danish writer of Out of Africa.

Gotta love those Nobel jurists. Yes, that's the thing most weak about The hobbit, LoTR and The Silmarillion, the storytelling.

Oh, and I look forward to that diary in "My Favorite Authors" on Ivo Andric

Originally posted to Readers and Book Lovers on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 06:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Progressive Friends of the Library Newsletter.

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