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Booker short list

(17 Posts)
HappydaysArehere Sun 23-Nov-14 20:45:44

I have purchased all six as I always do every year. Usually gain an enormous amount of enjoyment from a large number of them. It's always great to encounter new authors and I look forward to their arrival. So far I have read about the horrors of the Burma railway construction which is obviously a well written and thought provoking book. However, pleased to have finished it. Then We Are All Completely........understood the message but no way did I look forward to picking it up. Now Ali Smith.....started this last night and presented with the incomprehensible first pages leading into the Middle Ages etc. please tell me that these judges have managed to choose something to delight me if I continue with the three other contenders or indeed has Ali Smith something to offer? As I love books why am I so disheartened? Can anyone cheer me up and tell me the rest are worthy of selection and I have only to give them time?

hackmum Mon 24-Nov-14 08:49:04

I've only read two - the same two as you, OP. I hate to say this, but I found the love story element of the Narrow Road to the Deep North rather tiresome. The bit on the railway was good, though.

Unlike you, I really enjoyed We are all completely beside ourselves.

Have been toying with buying the Ali Smith, but I have several times attempted The Accidental and not got anywhere with it. She's really difficult to read, so I might give this one a miss too.

And I can't advise you on the other three - however, if you're looking for a really enjoyable read, can I suggest Funny Girl by Nick Hornby, which is absolutely delightful?

yesbutnobut Mon 24-Nov-14 11:49:53

The one about the dentist (Joshua Ferris) is good in parts, though I'd have been very surprised if it had won the prize overall. I too enjoyed WACBO but didn't think it was particularly special. Have enjoyed Americanah and Goldfinch more than the 2 short list books I've read. I'm looking forward to reading the winning book though.

HappydaysArehere Mon 24-Nov-14 17:27:04

Thank you for your input and your Nick Hornby suggestion. I have downloaded Americanah ready to read as I enjoyed Half a Yellow Sun and Purple Hibiscus so there is something to look forward to.
Hackmum, I too found the love story tedious. Those chimp experiments were some of the experiments I encountered when studying educational psychology. We were horrified then and therefore the book seemed rather dated and tedious in its format. I just couldn't warm to, or believe in, the characters. Probably me!
Picked up the The Lives Of Others but soon discovered more misery. Beginning to wonder what state the judges were in when they had waded through them. I have always read the short list and I refuse to give up. Perhaps the answer is not to read them without some light relief in between. Which reminds me I have Ken Follet's Edge of a Eternity waiting for me - the last of his trilogy.

hackmum Mon 24-Nov-14 18:33:33

Oh, I often wonder about Booker judges. Why didn't they put the Goldfinch on the shortlist? It's absolutely brilliant, and knocks the winner into a cocked hat (imho).

Do report back when you've read the rest and whether there are any worth reading. smile

funchum8am Mon 24-Nov-14 18:42:08

I am so glad to hear I'm not alone! I am part way into the Ali Smith and finding it hard going. I enjoyed WAACBO well enough, but found it to be nothing spectacular.

From the long list, I have already given up on The Wake...yes gods the effort required to read each sentence was immense, and as I'm on a Kindle I can't easily flick to the Anglo Saxon glossary. Yet I keep reading really positive reviews about both this and How To Be Both, so perhaps my ability to appreciate innovative writing is the issue confused

HappydaysArehere Mon 24-Nov-14 22:31:16

Goldfinch is going on my list. Discovered Tan Twan Eng when I read another Booker contender - The Garden of The Evening Mists. I then read The Gift Of Rain, his earlier book. I loved it - wonderful. Last year I loved A Tale For The Time Being preferring it to the Luminaries which won of course. There have been some great years and can't believe this year's let down but I haven't finished.......worse luck.

cazzybabs Tue 25-Nov-14 21:07:44

I totally loved the edge and it is worth persevering with (and I read it on a Kindle!)... I didn't get on with the Ali Smith and I really didn't like the dentist one... it was too weired

cazzybabs Tue 25-Nov-14 21:08:10

ahh I meant the wake not the edge... sorry!

HappydaysArehere Wed 26-Nov-14 17:34:54

Started the one set in India. Not a lot of laughs there! Got the Edge of ....next to it so cazzubabe you have decided for me I will abandon India as I need a breather from misery. Good old Ken.... We meet again. India will have to wait.

HappydaysArehere Wed 26-Nov-14 17:52:37

Hey cazzybabe, here I am holding Ken Follet, all 800 pages plus in one hand and The Lives Of Others (the One set in India) in the other. Where do I go?I thought you had decided for me grin. Now it's the wake not the edge...confused. Never mind....only joking.

Bue Wed 26-Nov-14 18:44:59

Just heading off to book club, for which we have read the Ali Smith. I would not recommend tbh, especially if you get the Renaissance story first. It is just terribly hard work.

booksandwool Wed 26-Nov-14 18:47:26

I loved the Ali Smith, really loved it, once I'd got in the flow. I thought it was startlingly skillful and created deeply believable characters!
Hated the Jacobson with a pure hate.

spinningheart Wed 26-Nov-14 22:21:33

I read A History of the Rain by Niall Williams, it was on the longlist and I'm not sure about short list. Anyway, it was fantastic, really beautiful and the narrator was such a strong clear voice throughout. Its set in Co Clare, west coast Ireland, and it has a very strong sense of place that may not fully translate if you haven't spent time there but definitely worth a read. I don't generally re-read books but that is definitely one I will go back to.

HappydaysArehere Thu 27-Nov-14 09:04:16

Cazzybabe just realised which book you were talking about. Just read about it. Sounds like something I would enjoy. So the Wake,Goldfinch and thank you Spinningheart for The History of Rain which sounds good. Going to Waterstones this morning as I have two books on click and collect.
booksandwool I am not surprised about the Harold Jacobson one. I was saving that for last as his last one which actually won the prize was one I hated. Having said that DH loved it. You have given me fresh strength to carry on with Ali Smith. I must say I had liked the subject of art as I enjoy painting and visit many exhibitions so thought it would be of interest. By the way how do you solve the problem of accommodating all these books? I am clean out of bookcase space and now piling them under the bed! Every time I gather some together to take to the charity shop DH complains that he doesn't think he has read them. Then their are the ones I could never, ever get rid of. Then there are my art books.....Oh! dear...then the books on my I Pad.....

funchum8am Thu 27-Nov-14 16:44:18

Right cazzy you have given me the impetus to try again with The Wake. Might try and get a library copy so I can use the glossary though.

Have put Ali Smith on the back burner and am reading something totally different (Shantaram) for now. It's very absorbing.

HappydaysArehere Fri 19-Dec-14 18:23:45

I am reading Goldfinch at the moment. What a relief! A book I am enjoying.

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