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Anyone still reading the Booker short list?

(26 Posts)
HappydaysArehere Fri 17-Nov-17 09:46:50

Have always purchased the short list until the last couple of years. Due to an increasing disappointment in the selection last year I selected a couple and that was that. This year I don’t care for any of them based on reviews and synopsis of their content. In Waterstones yesterday they only displayed the winner in the midst of other non booker related books. What has happened? As said before I have always loved the Booker selection and purchased them from the Book people as soon as they were available. I am now more focussed on the Pulitzer as a source of literary satisfaction. Has anyone else been disappointed?

TonTonMacoute Fri 17-Nov-17 20:01:48

I agree with you. I used to love getting the whole shortlist from the Book People, and working my way through them. Sometimes my heart sank at some of the books, but I ended up enjoying most of them anyway.

I have looked at the last two years, and just felt I couldn’t be bothered any more - especially this year.

glitterbiscuits Fri 17-Nov-17 20:14:00

Me too.

I can’t seem to settle on anything at the moment. I liked it when I had a pile to work through, even if they were things I’d never choose.

I’m hoping to join a reading group or something in the New Year to get me back on track

HappydaysArehere Fri 17-Nov-17 20:34:50

It is such a shame. I feel deprived. I remember a few years back enjoying all the selected books for that year but there was an outcry accusing the judges of “dumbing down” the Booker. Since then the criteria seems to be obscurity, boredom and as complex as possible in the interest of breaking some barriers of literary convention. The last selection I really enjoyed included The Luminaries, A Tale For The Time Being (my favourite) and A Little Life. My only hope that a reduction in sales of the latest selection will send a warning that their strategies are not benefitting the prize’s reputation.

whatwoulddexterdo Fri 17-Nov-17 21:57:05

It's a huge marketing scam, purely designed to get you to part with your £

HappydaysArehere Fri 17-Nov-17 22:06:07

Well woulddexterdo. You are right of course but with the kind of choices being made it is gradually becoming self defeating.

Murine Sat 18-Nov-17 09:16:29

I am working my way through the long list, I've still got Solar Bones, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, 4321, History of Wolves and Reservoir 13 and Autumn to go. I get them from the library so I have to wait til they have them in, but I managed it by mid January last year and only abandoned one, though I probably should've done so for more!

I've only done it these last two years so I can't comment on previous lists (I had almost stopped reading completely and didn't know where to start when it came to choosing books)though it's been a good way of discovering new authors and learn more about what I like and dislike.

HappydaysArehere Sat 18-Nov-17 09:42:25

Murine, you have done well. Makes me ashamed of my lack of effort.
Have you enjoyed any of them? Have you read the winner - the one about the voices in the graveyard of Abraham Lincoln’s eleven year old son? In the past I have usually preferred another book on the list to the actual winner.

southeastdweller Sat 18-Nov-17 09:52:02

Although I loved A Little Life, the lists in general haven't appealed to me since the group decided to allow entries from all English language writers in 2014. I can't imagine some of the U.K's greatest writers, like Ian McEwan and Sarah Waters, ever being shortlisted again. And I don't like that the shortlisted books are more esoteric now compared to a few years ago and before then.

boldlygoingsomewhere Sat 18-Nov-17 10:05:15

I started with the longlist and read the winner first. I really enjoyed Lincoln in the Bardo, The Underground Railroad and Days Without End.

A lot of this year's selection don't really appeal to me. I agree that the selection is becoming increasingly off. I first started reading the Booker lists in the mid-90s and there were great books then. I'm also not keen on opening the prize up internationally.

TonTonMacoute Sat 18-Nov-17 15:02:21

They have an international Man Booker prize. I don’t know if it’s only for books in translation, but they should keep the British and International sections separate IMO.

Murine Sat 18-Nov-17 17:19:23

I have been the same,*HappydaysArehere*, last year I thought Do Not Say We Have Nothing was much better than the winner, and this year much preferred several over Lincoln In The Bardo.

I particularly enjoyed The Underground Railroad, Home Fire, Elmet and Days Without End this time, I'm planning to buy myself copies of the latter two.
Lincoln In the Bardo is very good, but I thought it was a difficult read because the characters are named after their speech, almost like references, it took me a while to figure out what was going on! I guessed it was going to win because it is so different and almost experimental.

HappydaysArehere Sat 18-Nov-17 18:44:16

* southeastdweller*I really agree that since the entries have been extended to include all English writers that the selections have ousted out writers who deserve the acknowledgement the lists give. In fact my dh has moaned about this for the last couple of years. Murine I have read Days Without End and enjoyed it although it didn’t make the short list. I will read Elmet now you have said you are likely to buy it and take a look at the others you mention, especially The Underground Railway as * boldlygoinganywhere*also enjoyed that one together with Lincoln in the Bardo. So thank you for your recommendations. Looks as if I was a little hasty and too general in my condemnation of the entire list.

RMC123 Sun 19-Nov-17 20:57:09

I made it my mission to read as many as I could this year as I loved Lincoln in the Bardo and wanted to see if anything else compared. I’ve never really paid that much attention to it before.
I managed to read all on the short list and some on the long list. Enjoyed Days without end, Elmet, 4,3,2,1 and Reservoir 13. Underground Railroad was very clever. Was underwhelmed by Zadie Smiths entry and also Exit West. History of wolves was beautifully written but quite a grim read.
Was thrilled that Lincoln won

lastqueenofscotland Sun 19-Nov-17 21:12:12

4 3 2 1 actively pissed me off... im with you op.

Murine Mon 20-Nov-17 06:43:32

I'm going to give 4321 a miss then, it's length was already putting me off!

RMC123 Mon 20-Nov-17 12:28:00

I enjoyed 4,3,2,1. I found it an interesting take on US political climate in 60’s. I do like long books though.

HappydaysArehere Mon 20-Nov-17 19:28:58

I will have to read Lincoln in the Bardo asRMC has also,enjoyed it. Your replies have been really interesting. Thank you.

Tootyfilou Tue 21-Nov-17 17:36:22

I loved 4321, has inspired me to read more Paul Auster.

ScribblyGum Wed 22-Nov-17 17:29:13

I've read Lincoln, Autumn, Elmet and Exit West from the short list, and Days Without End from the Long list. Have no desire to read 4 3 2 1, might get round to The Tenderness of Wolves, although I've read several reviews which say it's very like Eileen which was on last year's short list.
Loved Lincoln, Autumn and Days Without End, thought Elmet was pretty good and decidedly meh about Exit West.
Only other book on the long list I'm interested in atm is Home Fire. Interesting to see that it's been nominated for the Costa novel award.

ScribblyGum Wed 22-Nov-17 17:30:25

I listened to Lincoln, it's wonderful. Bought the book as soon as I'd finished listening to it and plan to read it soon.

Murine Wed 22-Nov-17 18:50:05

Home Fire is excellent, ScribblyGum, compelling and very current, and the ending it creeps up to left me reeling! I was really surprised it didn't make the short list. One of the books that makes me glad I am ploughing through the longlist because I wouldn't have discovered Kamila Shamsie otherwise.

ScribblyGum Wed 22-Nov-17 19:01:19

That's good to hear Murine. I've bought Antigone by Sophocles how bloody ponce-tastically lush was it when I asked the Waterstones dude where I could find Sophocles to read first, and then hoping to read Home Fire straight after to see what Shamsie has done with the original story.

Murine Wed 22-Nov-17 19:11:12

See that's what I should do rather than wikipedia-ing Antigone grin, hope you enjoy them both!

ScribblyGum Wed 22-Nov-17 19:17:31

Me too!

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