Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The British are coming! The British are coming!

Alright, perhaps the reference is a few hundred years old, but it's an exciting day for me.  Every year, I wait for the Man Booker prize short list to be announced, and today is that day. The excitement started back in July, when the long list (aka the Man Booker Dozen) was announced.  I promptly put on hold every title we own, prepared to read the books considered to be the best for the year in the British Commonwealth.   I am regularly wowed by the writing that these awards highlight.  More than other awards, the Man Bookers seem, to me, to focus on outstanding literary writing, regardless of what (or who) the media darling of the day might be.

The prize winner for the year will be announced on Tuesday, October 12. But for now, I'm working through my list of Man Booker longlist titles, a practice I started several years ago.  While I might not love every book on the list, I often find great books I otherwise wouldn't have heard of, and I can almost always count on excellent writing. I am desperate to read Room by Emma Donoghue, one of the short-listed titles.  I know I'm going to end up regretting it, because it's a "disturbing, suspenseful" book about kidnapping and I don't do particularly well with either disturbing or suspenseful.  Still, the concept of writing about a child who has never been outside of an 11x11 room at the age of five, and his subsequent introduction to the world, is fascinating to me. 

Other titles on the short list include:
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
C by Tom McCarthy

If you can't get enough prize winners from this list, check out these long-listed titles that didn't quite make today's cut:

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob DeZoet by David Mitchell
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Trespass by Rose Tremain
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

and don't forget to check out our Great Books Great Libraries list of Prize Winners!

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