So nobody got the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction this year.  Buzzkill!  Look at the maidens’ dejected faces, as they realize the bride just doesn’t feel like tossing the bouquet. We who enjoy the spectator sport of publishing have been denied one of our year’s high points.

Sort of.

While Ann Patchett’s “indignation” and “rage” at the non-decision in this morning’s NYT are not misplaced, let’s remember that a little anarchy is often the best way out of a stale routine.  Recent Pulitzers have gone to good and great books, but at least now we have something more to talk about than how obvious or how obscure the pick was.  What’s more obvious–or more obscure–than nothing?

Also, the selection process is now etherized on the table and ready for dissection.  We want ANSWERS!  I think readers win any time the Secret Board of Shadowy Figures in charge of literary taste-making has to tip its hand a little.

What are these awards anyway?  If Sartre flipped l’oiseau to the Nobel Committee, aren’t these all just empty back-pats and integrity-undermining booby prizes??

Just kidding, I’m not going to rail against the idea of book awards.   They’re fun to anticipate, more fun to bet on, I bet it feels great to win one, and as Ms. Patchett says they’re good publicity.  But if the lack of a 2012 Fiction Pulitzer is really this mega-blow to the enterprise of reading, things are much worse than I thought.

The bummer for me is that now, I don’t have the validation I’d hoped for of all the nice things I’ve been telling friends and family about The Art of Fielding since October.

Except for how good the book still is.

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