The Man Booker Prize 2013

h_logo_official_largeEvery year, I’m excited about the Man Booker Prize. I’m not quite sure why it’s this prize in particular that interests me the most, but fact is, it is. Maybe because it often is very good books that are both long- and short-listed as well as eventually wins.

Every year I want to read the long-list and thereby form my own opinion on which books deserve to be put on the short-list – and which book ultimately deserves to win. Each year I fail in doing this – mostly because I can’t afford buying all the books (and most of them aren’t available in Denmark anyway so I have to order them from abroad which of course costs more). Time is also a factor in my not getting around to reading the entire long-list. Still, I dream of doing so one year.

Last year, Hilary Mantel made history by winning for the second time – with the second book in her Cromwell series.

This year – someone else will get the honor.

This year’s longlist:

  • Ruth Ozeki: A Tale for the Time Being
  • Charlotte Mendelson: Almost English
  • Tash Aw: Five Star Billionaire
  • Jim Crace: Harvest
  • Richard House: The Kills
  • Jhumpa Lahiri: The Lowland
  • Eleanor Catton: The Luminaries
  • Eve Harris: The Marrying of Chani Kaufman
  • Donal Ryan: The Spinning Heart
  • Colm Toibin: The Testament of Mary
  • Colum McCann: TransAtlantic
  • Alison MacLeod: Unexploded
  • Noviolet Bulawayo: We Need New Names

You can read more about these books here.

I haven’t read any of these books – and only one book by one of the longlisted authors (Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann which I loved).

I will try to see if I can find some of these and at least make it through a few of them before the shortlist will be revealed on September 10.

Anybody have any thoughts on this year’s longlist?

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The Man Booker prize 2012 shortlist

Each year, I wish I had the time to read the Man Booker longlist when it comes out and then be able to form my own opinion about which book is the best one and then complain about the judges if they don’t get it right. However, so far this year – like every year! – I haven’t even read a single page of any of them… But there’s always next year…!

And now the shortlist is out. And even though I haven’t read any of these, I’m still going to talk about the list:

  • Jeet Thayil: Nacropolis. This debut novel about drugs, sex, perversion, death and more, starts in Bombay in the 70s as it’s main protagonist arrives from New York and soon discovers opium dens, brothels and other entertainment the city has to offer.
  • Deborah Levy: Swimming Home. Taking place over just one week, this novel explores the effect depression can have on otherwise stable people. This could be a really interesting read!
  • Hilary Mantel: Bring Up the Bodies. The second book about Thomas Cromwell. This one focuses on his dealing with Anne Boleyn after she has lost the king’s favor after failing to give him a son. Can Mantel win again? Only two authors have won the award twice, J.M. Coetzee and Peter Carey. Only time will tell…
  • Alison Moore: The Lighthouse. A middle-aged man looks past on his childhood and something he neglected to do that now seems to have repercussions in the present.
  • Will Self: The Umbrella. In his attempt to understand the nature of the modern world, Umbrella follows the story of feminist Audrey Death who falls victim to the encephalitis lethargic epidemic and her doctor.
  • Tan Twan Eng: The Garden of Evening Mists. A young girl is apprenticed to the owner of a Japanese garden so she can design a garden dedicated to the memory of her sister.

Source

I’m a bit sad that Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry didn’t make it to the shortlist since it was one of the books I really wanted to read. On the shortlist, I’m most interested in Swimming HomeThe Lighthouse and Umbrella. And I’ll definitely read Bring Up the Bodies to see if I like it better – or is better able to appreciate it – than I was Wolf Hall.

6 books are left to battle it out. Of these, I have read … exactly none. But I have read books by two of the authors, Will Self and Hilary Mantel. I’ve read How the Dead Live and Wolf Hall. While feeling both were intelligent, clever books, I didn’t love any of them. I have no idea who will win this year – I can hardly think that Mantel will take home another one, however, I don’t think the Booker takes that into account, nor that it gives out the award to the person who deserves it after many years of ‘faithful service’, as the Oscar does.

Apparently, at this point, the judges have read the longlisted books at least twice. These six remaining from the long list are simply the six best books, according to the judges. Now, of course, we have to wait and see which one book will emerge from this group as this year’s winner.

Looking forward to October 16th!

Read more on the official Man Booker site.

Five of my favorite book apps

I recently discovered the 1001 Books app and that made me think about what other excellent book apps there are out there. I think the apps you have on your phone says a lot about who you are, what interests you and who you would like to be. I love books so of course I have a lot of book apps. These are some of my favorite apps but there are many more out there, although not as many as I would like there to be. Still, here are a few good ones.

Goodreads This is my favorite books app. I use it every day. I use it to take notes to what I’m reading and to keep track of how far I’m getting in my books. I never buy a book anymore without first looking at Goodreads and see what others write about it. I like to use Goodreads to see what others think about the books I read, have read or are planning to read. It’s possible to see every book on your shelves, see what your friends are reading as well as check out your groups and see the discussions in these. You can also easily add new books you buy by scanning the barcode. I like everything about Goodreads – and the app is really awesome.

Audible I like the idea of audio books. In theory. But I still have some feeling that if you don’t read a book, actually sit down and read with your eyes, you haven’t really read the book. I get easily distracted when listening to a book but I hope to be able to change that and start listening to some books. I plan on reading James Joyce Ulysses while listening to it at the same time because I think that will make it easier to understand it. I also have a garden full of weeds and I hope to listen to some books while cleaning it all up. This also comes with listening stats so when you listen to audio books, you slowly level up ’till you finally become App Master. I like being able to level up like that – first level requires 100 hours of listening. I think I can almost achieve that by listening to Ulysses!

Man Booker Prize I know a lot of people dislike the ManBooker, finding it too literary or too snobbish. Still, I have read some good books from it’s long and short lists – and it has a nice pretty app. This is probably the award I follow the closest – and therefore I like this app. It has information about the Prize from 1969 and to the present day. You can see the winner from each year as well as the short list, and the long list from some years. Unfortunately, this app isn’t updated quickly enough so when there’s something happening in the world of the Man Booker, it isn’t shown on the app right away which is a shame. I would also like to be able to mark which of the novels I have read but otherwise, I really like this app.

L-Space This is an app to keep track of your Discworld novels. I find it sometimes confusing to remember which books I already own in this series so it’s nice to have a list where I can easily see which books I have on my shelf as well as track which ones I’ve read. The app even features which characters are in each book so it’s easy to buy books within each of the separate story lines in the Discworld universe. Discworld is a rather complicated series to keep the various story lines straight in, and this app is really helpful with that. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been updated for a long while so it works best with the older novels in this series – the newest novel in the app is Unseen Academicals and I Shall Wear Midnight. I hope this app will be updated again on a regular basis.

Kindle I have a Kindle so of course, I also have the Kindle app. I really like the idea of being able to read your books on different devices, if needed. That being said, I hardly ever use it. If I read a book on my Kindle, I have my Kindle with me and otherwise, I have a paper book with me. Still, I can see myself using it more in the future when I hopefully start to have more of a commute.

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