This is a bit of surprise blog post! I wasn’t planning to blog again until the weekend and hadn’t particularly expected to blog about the Booker Prize Long List.
However, due to a number of factors, mainly extreme heat, the mother of all thunderstorms and a flatulent dog(!) the Long List hit my radar a lot quicker than I expected.
I was scrolling through Twitter in an insomnia induced rage and, ‘PING!’, it popped up before my very eyes.
And I have to admit I was excited.
I might have wept inwardly for my proposed Summer Reads. (See Sunday’s blog post!)
And then I went straight back to being excited again.
So I have given my head a little wobble, reminded my inner goblin of self doubt, that my opinions are as valid as the next book geek and decided to crack on.
It’s not a long post, but very much my initial raw reaction to the list.
…books I have read…
My Sister, the Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite– I read this one earlier in the year. Review if you are interested can be found here. I loved the author’s economic but precise use of language, the dark humour and perfect plotting. I think that as debut novel it is impressive.
Lost Children Archive – Valeria Luiselli – This one was another Women’s Prize read. Very well researched, very well written and so relevant with its focus on America and Mexico’s lost children. Multi layered and complex, there is so much to discuss and motifs of childhood run throughout.
It certainly wasn’t the easiest book I have read this year, either in subject matter or style. I also found the protagonist and some-time narrator quite hard to connect with. So I guess the jury is still out on this one.
…books I am definitely going to read…
Let’s begin with…
The Testaments – Margaret Atwood – It was never, not even for one single second, in doubt that this book was going on to my TBR pile. It is the LONG awaited sequel to the 1985 cult novel The Handmaid’s Tale and the anticipation of it’s September release has been bouncing around my bookish brain all year.
This book and I have history! I have stubbornly refused to watch anything beyond Series 1 of the recent TV adaption, as I believe the power of the first book is rooted firmly in it’s unresolved ending.
And the only person I want to hear what happens next from is Atwood!
Night Boat to Tangier- Kevin Barry – Another one that was already on my radar. It’s been getting a lot of interest in the last week or so in the blogs I follow. Two Irish gangsters, sex, death and narcotics seem to be to make a pretty interesting combination.
Ducks, Newburyport – Lucy Ellmann This novel is everywhere!! So I wasn’t in the least bit surprised to find it nestling on the Long List. 1,000 pages, and a single sentence? Unique certainly! Winking at me on the desk as I type.
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo Hands up this one had completely past me by. And I am not really sure why because it sounds like some I would really engage with. The story of 12 characters, mainly Black British women and their experiences through several decades. Really hoping to read this one
Lanny – Max Porter. – Heard this one mentioned on the Backlisted Podcast a couple of months ago and if my memory serves me rightly then there were comparisons made to the style of Lincoln in the Bardo. Add in a recommendation from @BookishChat and I am sold. This one was a ‘2am- post-announcement-order‘. Arrives tomorrow...
Frankissstein – Jeanette Winterson – Already earmarked for my summer holidays! Have loved everything I have ever read by Winterson and I was captivated when I heard her talking about this one earlier this year. A look at the future of our planet in the grip of AI, with more than a nod to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. If anyone can pull it off it’s Winterson.
…and the rest?
So those are my initial thoughts. Not especially deep or erudite but just my initial gut reaction to what is an exciting list.
The remaining 5 books listed below haven’t quite spoken to me yet, but give them time!
Thanks for indulging my ramblings. Following this with interest and looking forward to hearing others thoughts! Especially the ones you think I have missed from my list!
Happy LongList Reading !