Josh Bazell has a BA in writing from Brown University and a MD from Columbia University. He is currently a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco, and is working on his second novel. Read more about Beat the Reaper at www.beatthereaper.com.My favorite books are always crime books, and the best I read this year were The Cigarette Century - Alan Brandt's awesomely readable true account of how a handful of advertising geniuses created the worst epidemic the world has ever seen - and Peter Lovesy's The Reaper. Although I've always liked Lovesy, part of the reason I read The Reaper was because its title is sort of like the title of my own forthcoming book. So it was nice to discover that it's something of a mainstream masterpiece. If you suspect you could love a dark comedy about a sociopathic priest who has to kill more and more people to cover up his previous crimes, you will love this one.More from A Year in Reading 2008
The Tournament of Books is a wacky enterprise, but for the second year in a row, it has predicted the winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Last year it was Cormac McCarthy's The Road, this year it's Junot Díaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Here are this year's Pulitzer winners and finalists with excerpts where available:FictionWinner: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz - Junot Díaz participates in our Year in ReadingTree of Smoke by Denis Johnson - excerpt, Garth's reviewShakespeare's Kitchen by Lore SegalGeneral Nonfiction:Winner: The Years of Extermination by Saul FriedlanderThe Cigarette Century by Allan BrandtThe Rest Is Noise by Alex Ross - excerptHistory:Winner: What Hath God Wrought by Daniel Walker HoweNixon and Kissinger: Partners in Power by Robert Dallek - excerptThe Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War by the late David HalberstamBiography:Winner: Eden's Outcasts by John MattesonThe Worlds of Lincoln Kirstein by Martin Duberman - excerptThe Life of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader - excerptWinners and finalists in other categories are available at the Pulitzer Web site.