Reading the Bookers

Posted: July 29, 2008 in Booker Project

2008 Man Booker Long List:

The titles are:

Aravind Adiga              The White Tiger                                 
Gaynor Arnold             Girl in a Blue Dress                           
Sebastian Barry           The Secret Scripture                         
John Berger                 From A to X                                        
Michelle de Kretser      The Lost Dog                                     
Amitav Ghosh              Sea of Poppies                                  
Linda Grant                 The Clothes on Their Backs             
Mohammed Hanif         A Case of Exploding Mangoes         
Philip Hensher             The Northern Clemency                     
Joseph O’Neill              Netherland                                        
Salman Rushdie          The Enchantress of Florence            
Tom Rob Smith            Child 44                           
Steve Toltz                   A Fraction of the Whole

A couple years ago I nearly went blind trying to cram the reading of the entire Booker Long List into my reading schedule. Reader, I won’t be doing that again.

Rather, this year I’m going to go at it in a much more relaxed way. I own a couple of the long-listed books, the Rushdie and the Smith (in a signed review copy – joy!). I can get four or five of them from my own library, and I’m interlibrary loaning another three or so. As for the rest of them, if I blow through the eight or so I can lay hands on I may try using WorldCat to get my hot little hands on the others. MAYBE.

More likely, I’ll read as many as I can, then try to make a prediction based on that. Even if I don’t pick the winner I’ll have some good reading ahead of me. Lowering the pressure is so much better than going cross-eyed trying to pack in twelve books in a month and a half, which is when the short list will be announced (September 9).

And yes, I could wait for the shortlist, but that’s not nearly as much of a challenge. Talk to me next year, though. I may be lowering the bar again, depending on how this year goes.

Anyone else reading anything from the long list? I’d love to hear from you and get your take on the book(s). I’ll report back here as I finish them. Wish me luck.

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