Ann Patchett in The New York Times on the missing fiction Pulitzer The Pulitzer Prize board announced Monday that there would be no fiction prize this year, though there were three finalists. "[T]he board was unable to reach a consensus, or ... the board members decided that none of the finalists, and none of the other books that were not finalists, were worthy of a Pulitzer Prize," writes Patchett. "Most readers hearing the news will not assume it was a deadlock. They'll just figure it was a bum year for fiction." Patchett describes the offense she takes both as a fiction writer and as a reader, listing several works she read this year that could have taken the prize. Winning a Pulitzer gives a writer press, and gets Americans excited about literary fiction, something she argues the industry needs more than ever these days. "The Pulitzer Prize is our best chance as writers and readers and booksellers to celebrate fiction. This was the year we all lost."
Ryan Lizza in The New Yorker on Romney's government cuts Liberals reacted with an "aha!" writes Lizza, when reporters overheard Mitt Romney telling wealthy donors his plans to combine or eliminate several federal agencies, plans he had yet to share with voters. "But Romney's circumspection is actually a sign of victory for liberals: it remains politically unsafe to campaign on a detailed anti-government agenda," Lizza argues. He describes Ronald Reagan's 1980 campaign, which put front and center the elimination of the same departments Romney is targeting. He didn't succeed, and since then, history has proven that the anti-government agenda doesn't take with voters. More libertarian impulses have had their moment again beginning with the 2010 election, but even so, they've "learned the obvious lessons of the previous two decades: Republicans succeed when they cut taxes, not government."