Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Reading Man Booker Nominees or Why There Have Been No Reviews of Late...

Those of you who have been with me a while will know about my love for lists. Every year when longlists are announced I think I should read the longlist but I never do because I'm always ultimately overwhelmed by the knowledge that I'll fail. Usually it puts me off before I start, but not this year. This year I went on a bit of a mad 'let's reserve everything at the library' and as apparently most of Kent are doing the same it's been nicely staggered so far. However, it turns out that those books nominated for the Booker tend not to be the quickest, lightest of reads. Did you know that? So I've been reading The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt (whose name I will never, ever be able to spell without looking) for pretty much three weeks. I'm about two thirds through and I like it I think. The subject matter is incredibly interesting and the characters are gripping and I'm interested enough to want to find out how it turns out but it's not the kind of book that I just must read every spare moment I get, not that there are a lot of those anyway at the moment but you know. I'm sort of at the point with it now where I just want it to be over so I can move onto the next thing (inevitably another of the longlisted titles, but you know), but not enough that I might actually, you know, stop writing this post and actually read instead.

Anyway, The Blazing World going on (and on and on) is why there haven't been many reviews around these parts lately. I've basically not finished a book in what feels like forever, so instead of feeling bad about that I thought I'd make a list (yes another one!) of all the past Booker winners and remind myself of the joyous times spent reading the one or two that I have actually read previously! 

The more I read, the more I wonder whether the Orange/Bailey's/whatever it is now Women's Prize might not be more my thing.... Never mind!

2013 Winner - The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton - I keep looking at this in Waterstone's and not picking it up because it's huge. I have her earlier novel, The Rehearsal on my wishlist though.

2012 Winner - Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel - I actually loved and adored Wolf Hall and I bought this on my epic shopping trip in Leeds last year with Laura, Hanna, Ellie and Charlotte. I've been eyeing it up every time I go past the shelf it's on (by the kitchen, so like... twelve times a day?) and I'm thinking soon it will be time!

2011 Winner - The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes - I think I read this, but I don't remember it at all...

2010 Winner - The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson - I read this and it was good, but definitely took me a while to get through.

2009 Winner - Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel - actually really easy reading and I have Bring Up the Bodies waiting to be read, kind of not proving my point but you know!

2008 Winner - The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - I've owned this for years and not read it yet. I'll get to it one day!

2007 Winner - The Gathering by Anne Enright -

2006 Winner - The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai - Started it a few years back and got distracted by something else. As far as I remember it required perseverance, which I obviously didn't have at the time!

2005 Winner - The Sea by John Banville

2004 Winner - The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst

2003 Winner - Vernon God Little by D.B.C Pierre - I've read half of this book about four times and every time something else comes along while I'm in the middle and I give up. I feel like I would really like it, if only it could make me want to read it enough to stick with it for long periods, you know?

2002 Winner - Life of Pi by Yann Martel - I actually read this waaaay back when it won and everyone else was reading it and really enjoyed it. Even then I thought it was over hyped and I haven't seen the film yet, but yeah, good. 

2001 Winner - True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey - this is pretty much the book that sets the scene for the long drag of reading award winners. This book took me SO LONG to finish, and I really didn't enjoy it that much. I was kind of just glad I'd finished. 

2000 Winner - The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood - I have this on my shelf to re-read as I probably read it around 2000 and haven't read it since, but it's Margaret Atwood and I remember loving it at the time, so that should be good. 

I started writing this post about a week ago, since when I gave up on The Blazing World because we tidied our house and I've yet to find where it got tidied to, and I've started To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris which is much faster moving and also on the shortlist which has just been announced! Plus I've started reading The Outsiders by S.E Hinton for Banned Books Week (I know Ellie will be excited about this!), which has the added advantage of being on my Classics Club list, so two birds etc :-)

Anybody read any of the previous winners from the last 14 years? Or any of this years shortlist? What's worth reading and what can I give a miss? 

1 comment:

  1. I have read... none of these. I always get excited when the longlist comes out, but at that point no one's really heard of any of the books so NOPE. Then the shortlist happens, and by that point I have a better idea of what's what. Still haven't read any of them yet this year though. I DO, however, very much want to read the Karen Joy Fowler and Ali Smith offerings at some point. I'll probably buy the former this week, actually.

    As for previous winners - I bought The Luminaries a while back after rave reviews from two of my favourite BookTubers, but haven't quite dared take the plunge yet. For £3.85 in Tesco I wasn't saying no though, not for a book that size! I have Wolf Hall, The Line of Beauty (really looking forward to some more Hollinghurst!), Vernon God Little and The Life of Pi on Mount TBR as well. Only twelve years behind on those early ones! :P