Publishers Weekly reports:
After two years of controversial choices, the National Book Foundation will present its 2005 Medal for Distinguished Contributions to American Letters to Norman Mailer at its annual awards ceremony November 16. The NBF, which conducts the National Book Awards, drew some heat in 2003 and 2004 when it presented its Medal to Stephen King and Judy Blume, respectively. The King selection was criticized by some, who chided the organization for choosing a popular, rather than literary, author. The choice of Blume was knocked because she was viewed by critics as an author of controversial young adult works.
No one can quibble with the choice of Mailer, whose illustrious career includes winning the NBA and Pulitzer Prize in 1969 for Armies of the Night. In 1980, Mailer won his second Pulitzer for The Executioner's Song. In addition to his distinguished writing career, Mailer cofounded the Village Voice, was the editor of Dissent from 1952 to 1963 and served as president of PEN American Center from 1984 to 1986.
Miss Snark confesses:
I've never read any of Norman Mailer's books. Not even The Executioner's Song (although I did read Mikal Gilmore's incredible Shot Through the Heart).
Can I call myself well read if I haven't read Norman Mailer? How about Thomas Pynchon? Philip Roth? TS Eliot? James Joyce? Maya Angelou?
The list of must-be-read to be well-read is arbitrary...and fistfights break out in literary saloons all over America when certain authors are mentioned.
I'll just limit myself to the call to confession: who haven't you read that you know you should have. Fess up, Snarklings!