The Booker Half Dozen

08Sep09

Is actually a half-dozen.

So, the shortlist for the Man Booker Prize was announced today, and I sheepishly admit that I haven’t read a single book that made the shortlist. Considering I only read two books on the long list, I don’t think that’s incredibly surprising.

Image taken from BBC

Image taken from BBC website

I intended to read the entire shortlist when it was announced, but, I feel incredibly disinclined to read Wolf Hall, which is probably this year’s favorite. However, if Coetzee does win with his memoir, Summertime, it will be his third Booker Prize.

I am reading The Little Stranger at the moment, and I seriously hope it lives up to my expectations, which is a result of Fingersmith – my first Sarah Waters book, completed about a week back. Once done, I intend to read Summertime, which I did start, but, one of my friends wants to borrow the Waters book, so I had to bump that up the reading list.

Some bloggers have rated The Glass Room very highly, and I reckon that will be the third book on my Booker Shortlist TBR. I actually have incredibly high hopes for this book, so, I have my fingers crossed that the book lives up to its hype.

I was quite disappointed (although maybe not surprised) with the absence of Sarah Hall’s book, How To Paint A Dead Man. I really really enjoyed the book, and thought it might just be clever enough to make the cut. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be. As for Samantha Harvey’s The Wilderness – I did enjoy the book, but its exclusion from the shortlist didn’t have me too surprised. I don’t know why.

From the long list, I still intend to read Heliopolis though. It sounds fantastic, and who can resist a little bit of Brazil?

What are your thoughts on the shortlist? Did you read many books from the longlist? Was the exclusion of any book severely disappointing? And, the million dollar question: Who do you think is going to run away with it?

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12 Responses to “The Booker Half Dozen”

  1. The inclusion of Wolf Hall was incredibly disappointing as it heightens the possibility of having to read it. Ugh, I so do not want.

    The exclusion of How to Paint a Dead Man, The Wilderness, and Heliopolis were also disappointing although not surprising.

    My money is on (well, not literally, yet…) Summertime for winning. I’m hoping it won’t be Wolf Hall but so far I am loving The Glass Room.

    I’m interested to find out your thoughts on The Little Stranger, especially with Fingersmith so fresh in your mind; I personally think it is her weakest novel to date but so many people (and Booker judges, it would seem) love it.

  2. 2 cjz111

    I too haven’t read one on the short list but have added them to my TBR. Actually, Summertime and The Children’s Book have been there a while. Good luck!

  3. I’m afraid that i don’t think Little Stranger will live up to your expectations. I did enjoy it, but it isn’t in the same league as the Fingersmith.

    I am sure you will love The Glass Room and look forward to your thoughts on Wolf Hall if you do decide to give it a go.

  4. There are three titles on the list which I really want to read, the Coetzee, the AS Byatt and the Little Stranger, of all of which I have heard good things. Strangely, I also feel that I don’t want to read Wolf Hall. I suspect it’s the historical aspect which is off putting for me, although I know that this isn’t rational.

    An unexpected benefit of joining the book blogging community: this is probably the first time a Booker shortlist has been announced and I have actually heard of the majority of the authors.

  5. @Claire : I wouldn’t mind Summertime winning, because I think Coetzee’s a genius of sorts. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I loved Diary of a Bad Year. Of course, a book shouldn’t be judged by the previous accomplishments of the author, so….

    I’m not going to read Wolf Hall. I know, I know – it’s wrong to have preconceived notions about the book, but, oh well! If it wins the Booker, I might not have a choice.

    Am looking forward to seeing your review on The Glass Room. I’ve read about hundred pages of The Little Stranger, and it hasn’t grabbed me as yet, so I’m waiting for the pace to pick up a little. I hope it does.

    @czj111 : Would love to know what you think of them when you get down to reading them. The Byatt seems kind-of daunting at the moment, but, I reckon it’ll have to be done.

    @Jackie : Read 100 odd pages so far, and it hasn’t had the same magic as Fingersmith yet. I’m hoping for it to pick up though.

    I’ll have to get The Glass Room, at some point. Just that hardbacks are so expensive, and I’m not getting this one at half price on Amazon, so I’m putting it off. :( I really feel wrong spending so much on these books, just because they’re on the shortlist, and there’s a chance I might not like them.

    @Sarah : What’s with all of us and Wolf Hall. It seems to be screaming, “Don’t read me”, instead of “Pick me up, please”. The three you mentioned are tempting, and with everyone rating The Glass Room so highly, I reckon it will have to be done.

    lol, I actually hadn’t heard of a single author last year, although I did enjoy the couple of books I read! This year’s been better. Well done, and a pat on the back to both of us.

  6. wow…look at those chunksters. It would take me a month to read each book. Hilary Mantel’s writing style doesn’t gell with me. But i’ve read only one book by her.

  7. I don’t really think I’ll read the chunksters unless they win. I will read the winner, though. I do wish these were available in the US sooner!

    • I’ve read two – I’ll probably read one more and then call it quits. The other three don’t appeal to me at all. But like you, I’ll do the winner.

      Let’s hope a good one wins.

  8. I’ve just bought Wolf Hall and The Childrens Book off the back of some excellent blog recommendations. Haven’t yet read ‘How to Paint a Dead Man’ but if it’s as good as ‘The Carhullan Army’ (‘Sisters of the North or weva the yanks are calling it ;) ) I’m suprised it didn’t make the list. Everyone raves about Coetzee but I can’t stomach his writing, although I think perhaps I haven’t given it a fair go yet. Must go and read your review of ‘Summertime’ now to see if it’s one to add to my list.

    • Looking forward to seeing what you think of Wolf Hall and The Children’s Book. I haven’t got either of the two yet, and am still unsure about them, so…

      How To Paint A Dead Man is actually fantastic. It’s probably going to be one of my favourite reads of the year, come year-end, so I was quite disappointed not seeing it on the shortlist. I haven’t read Carhullan Army, but I have had The Electric Michelangelo on my TBR for ages.

      Which Coetzee did you read? If you’re not a big fan of his, I reckon you should skip Summertime.


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