In a comment on one of my posts recently, Sarah asked me which books on the Booker list I intended to read, or have already read. That’s a nice challenge and I’m taking her up on this. The long list for the Booker is:
The White Tiger – by Aravind Adiga
Girl in a Blue Dress – by Gaynor Arnold
The Secret Scripture – by Sebastian Barry
From A to X – by John Berger
The Lost Dog – by Michelle de Kretser
Sea of Poppies- by Amitav Ghosh
The Clothes on their Backs – by Linda Grant
A case of Exploding Mangoes – by Mohammed Hanif
The Northern Clemency – by Philip Hensher
Netherland – by Joseph O’Neill
The Enchantress of Florence – by Salman Rushdie
Child 44 – by Tom Rob Smith
A Fraction of the Whole – by Steve Tolz
Out of this list, I have only read one: Netherland, by Joseph O’Neill and I haveI reviewed it here. I loved the book and as it is the only one I have read so far and as I thought it was excellent, my choice for the winner would of course be O’Neill. But that might change as I have meanwhile received A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif. This had a lovely review in one of the podcasts I listened to on my iPod a little while ago and Hanif provided an interesting and humorous account of what the book was about. So I’ll be reading that.
I must admit that as far as the rest of the list is concerned, there are names I have never even heard of (Gaynor Arnold, Sebastian Barry, Michelle de Kretser and a few more). I have a Berger on my tbr pile but not the one that’s on the list. I shall probably convince myself to read Salman Rushdie’s Enchantress as so far I have read every single book by him (I think) even if I found some of them hard going, but before I run away with myself, I’m going to wait until tomorrow when the short list comes out and see if I can narrow down the list and try and catch up with the reading of that list before the actual winner is announced. Now that I know how the winner is arrived at (totally chaotic and a matter of who happens to be a member of the panel this year, the‘trade off’ between judges, the chair of the panel, the … etc, you can read it for yourself), I am going to decide my own winner out of the ones that I have read by the time the announcement is made. My luck if the winner is one of those that I haven’t read yet, but then that gives us something to read for after the announcement!
I am just mortified that Breath by Tim Winton is not on the list – it should have been as far as I’m concerned. Can anyone tell me why it isn’t?
Well, how about this? Or is my approach even more glib than the way it is decided by a panel? After all, I think I have quite a good insight into literature (even though professional reviewers will say I haven’t) and I think I know quite well what good books and good writing is about, even if my taste may be different from that of some of the judges.
Anyway, whoever wins in the end, I think it’s marvelous – congratulations!