My Personal List for the (Wo)Man Booker Shadow Panel Prize

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Yesterday, amidst all my Saturday chores (making meatballs and homemade tomato sauce for dinner, cleaning the house, folding the laundry, putting on an indulgent pout because I just wanted to read), there were a flurry of emails between the Wo-Man Booker shadow panel and myself. Feelings were strong, but as I was only able to read 8 of the 13 books listed on the long list, I acquiesed to those who have read all of the long list. The official shadow jury’s list will be shared tomorrow.

For today, let me share my top three from the eight that I have read:

Number 1, and the book that I think will take the Booker for 2015, is A Little Life. Some have said that the judges for the Booker do not choose long books to win, but when I look at last year’s winner, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and the year before, The Luminaries, I have to disagree. Yet, length is not really the point. I have to choose A Little Life because of the sheer power of emotion is able to evoke.

Number 2 for me is Sleeping on Jupiter. The writing in this novel is exquisite, and the story of courage in one young woman against her cruel, and evil, circumstances moved me greatly.

Number 3 is Did You Ever Have A Family? The way that Bill Clegg offered his story from multiple perspectives is brilliant. He brought each character to life; he told of adversity in the extreme without leaving us hopeless.

None of the others struck me as powerful enough to be on the list, although let met say I have not yet read Lila or A Brief History of Seven Killings (see yesterday’s post) which seem like they will need to be added to my top three. I have begun A Brief History of Seven Killings and cannot put it down. I thought A Spool of Blue ThreadThe Illuminations, and even The Green Road, fine books. Just not fine enough to win the Booker. And, Satin Island I loathed! I could not connect with that novel in any way; even though initially I enjoyed his sarcastic tone, it quickly became overbearing, and worse, meaningless.

Tomorrow, find the official list of the Shadow Jury Panel. Meanwhile, I will continue with the books I have not yet read before the Man Booker Prize is listed October 13.

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9 comments

    1. I’ve only bought The Fisherman, as it was impossible to find at the library. But, the other books have been sent via publisher or luckily found at our library. I might encourage you to try A Little Life if you can find it. It’s so very powerful, but not easy to read. And, I’m finding myself quite taken with A Brief History of Seven Killings so far, which most of the Shadow Panel loved.

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  1. Everyone has such nice things to say about A Little Life but I didn’t know you had reviewed it. Must have missed it on my dash.

    I’m trying to limit book-buying so I just want one book from the Booker list. I may just do the predictable thing and buy the winner, but I am intrigued by both A Little Life and The Fisherman. Ah, we’ll see.

    Off to read your review of A Little Life…

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  2. I must have missed your review of Little Life – I’ll include it in my own review where I listed some of the other blog posts covering this novel. I think it will make the shortlist but not be the winner. That prediction isn’t based on a lot of knowledge of the other prizes but because i think, as compelling a read as it is, it is also a bit clunky on times

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  3. I was never keen on the books listed for Booker prize, I still don’t know why, maybe because I did not come across them when they were nominated. Also, the moment school starts, the number in read pages drops and I find myself trying to sneak a few pages in between tutoring. Still, it’s part of the jobs we have chosen, right? 🙂 Happy times, M.!

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  4. I love that you guys shadow this award – it gives me a better idea of which books I want to read. Usually, when the list comes out I don’t know much about many of them, but by the time the winner is announced, I can root for certain books (even if I haven’t read them yet). I think this year I am most interested in A Little Life, Did You Ever Have a Family, and A Brief History of Seven Killings.

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  5. Your posts really inspire me to start reading some of the long(soon-to-be-short) list. I am usually a junkie for this sort of thing but this year I was lucky enough to have a long summer holiday and it all seemed to pass me by. I haven’t even read one yet! Will probably start with A Little Life which gets wonderful reviews everywhere.

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  6. I love your reviews and your personal list. So happy to see A Little Life on it 🙂 Jupiter sounds interesting and I definitely need to read Brief History. Seems like you’ve been reading some wonderful books – hurrah!

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