Prizewinners?

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Prizewinners?

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1Bookbox
maj 31, 2007, 10:48am

Have you discovered any good books because they have been shortlisted or won a prize?
I'm working my way through the shortlist for the Melissa Nathan Awards for Romantic Comedy and am loving Barefoot in the Dark by Lynne Barrett-Lee. It's based in Cardiff and is a modern romance with plenty of humour.

2LibraryLou
aug 6, 2007, 3:04pm

Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre
I was being made to read the booker prize for the library reading group at work, and this was one of only two on the list that I actually felt able to read, and enjoy. I was hooked from the first page, and couldn't put it down.
I tend not to look at Booker prize books now because I hardly ever find a good read there, which is a shame because I am sure there are some really good books on the lists, but past experience puts me off anything with 'Booker' nominated on it. Its a real barrier to me picking a book up.

3hazelk
aug 6, 2007, 3:27pm

I've looked at the list of Booker (now Man Booker) prizewinners since 1971 and there's such a variety of writing and authors that I should think there must be something for someone out there. OK, not graphic, fantasy, or sci-fi or overtly romantic but otherwise... let's see what I liked best and probably wouldn't have read unless awarded -

The Blind Assassin in 2000 by Margaret Atwood
The God of Small Things in 1997 by Arundhati Roy
Last Orders in 1996 by Graham Swift
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha in 1993 by Roddy Doyle
The Remains of the Day in 1989 by Kazuo Ishiguro

OK, I won't go further back. Yes, there were some disappointments: I struggled through The Inheritance of Loss, last year's winner, by Kiran Desai to name just one example.
And this year's Orange Prize winner, Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie I also had a slog with.
Prizes do introduce you to writers or genres you might not otherwise have tried.

4Osbaldistone
Redigeret: aug 7, 2007, 2:38pm

I found John Banville's 2005 winner, The Sea, a fine work. Somewhat dark and introspective, but not overly so, and with some bright moments and humor as well. And the writing is exceptional.

Os.

5miss_read
aug 8, 2007, 1:22pm

hazelk, I was also disappointed with The Inheritance of Loss, but must admit that some of my favourite books have been Booker prize winners (or shortlisters). My all-time favourite is Atonement and, of last year's batch, I adored The Night Watch and The Secret River.

6hazelk
aug 8, 2007, 3:31pm

>5 miss_read::miss_read:

Oh my goodness yes - Atonement and The Secret River - what fine reads they were. I expected the McEwan to be good but had no idea about Kate Grenville until I read The Secret River. Of this year's reads, that will certainly make my top five. (I read Atonement some time ago. I haven't got round to Night Watch yet but will do. (don't know why Touchstone though Terry Pratchett wrote it!)

7kidzdoc
okt 22, 2007, 10:01pm

I visited London last month, and picked up three of the books listed for this year's Booker Prize. I just finished Animal's People by Indra Sinha, which I thought was fantastic. I will start reading The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng later today, and I'll probably get to Darkmans by Nicola Barker sometime next month.

8dreamlikecheese
apr 22, 2008, 10:22am

Time for this thread to be resurrected I think.

I've set myself the challenge of reading at least 2 books from each year's Booker Prize shortlist, including the winner for each year. I've read some great books this way. I would never hae read Ian McEwan if not for his appearances on these lists and on the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die list. I absolutely loved Atonement. It's one of my favourite books. Kazuo Ishiguro is another author who I found through the Booker Prize list. Never Let Me Go is one of the most powerful and enjoyable books I've read.

As for the diversity on the list...you can actually find some novels from genres you might not expect (at least, you can if you look at the shortlists rather than the winners). Both Oryx & Crake by Margaret Atwood and Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell have both sci-fi and dystopian elements.

hazelk> The reason it touchstoned Terry Pratchett is that he also wrote a book called Night Watch. If you click on the "(others)" link at the end of the touchstone, it will bring up other book and author options....though you may already know this seeing as you posted over 6 months ago.

9Grammath
apr 22, 2008, 4:15pm

The most interesting thing on the British literature prize front at the moment is the announcement that there is going to be a Booker of Bookers awarded to what is considered to be the best winner of the prize since its inception 40 years ago.

This was last done in 1993, on the prize's 25th anniversary, when the prize went to Midnight's Children. This is my current read. I'm slightly more than a third of the way through it and the politest thing I can say about it is it is not my cup of tea.

Unlike the 1993 award, this time the public are being invited to participate, but only once a jury panel has whittled the list down to 6 options, after which there is to be an online vote. The jury is deliberating at the moment.

My own vote would go to 1989's winner, The Remains of the Day. What would other people vote for.

10TheoClarke
apr 23, 2008, 8:07pm

In the 1980s I would always read the entire Booker shortlist each year. From this I learnt that Salman Rushdie's longer books did not appeal to me but I also fell in love with Peter Carey (for Illywhacker and Oscar and Lucinda), Wiiliam Boyd (An Ice-Cream War), Keri Hulme (The Bone People), and many more. I stopped the comprehensive approach when it became a chore. I still cannot tell whether it was my tastes or the selection criteria that changed.

11pamelad
maj 8, 2008, 5:51am

My vote goes to The Siege of Krishnapur with The Remains of the Day a close second.

12skoobdo
Redigeret: maj 8, 2008, 6:25am

Why? Be attracted to the pages of the current Brand Name Author or a recent winning book award Author of an international prestigious book award. You might grow excited by the work of long past famous writers or less known ones. Generally, why are people in general so sheepish, so fussy or selective when it comes to the books they will spend hours with? Are the best seller list deserves much of the blame? We should rather visit a bookshop or library, rather than actually picking up a new novel by skimming a few pages, we are drawn to buying the latest "hot" titles .Are people willing to try older books from the past? We have to trust our instincts and not follow the crowd. Look in thy heart and read !-Philip Sydney, poet

13pamelad
maj 8, 2008, 8:55am

Skoobdo, the Siege of Krishnapur was first published in 1973. I picked it off a shelf in the 1980s, knowing nothing about it, and discovered a wonderful book about a fictionalised Indian mutiny. Gripping, entertaining, thought-provoking, historical, humane. I'm glad the Booker committee agreed.

14Grammath
maj 8, 2008, 12:51pm

#12

skoobdo, given that, in the UK alone, more than 200,000 new titles are published every year, readers, even avid ones like your average LTer, need some kind of guide through the maze.

Ideally, personal recommendations from other readers whose opinions you trust is the way to go. If you don't have bookworm friends, the internet provides numerous message boards and blogs where people post their own reviews.

The next best thing, to my mind, is prize shortlists. These books have clearly impressed a judging panel, and it is fun to see if your opinions of a book's merit matches theirs. I'll admit this is not ideal as there is a commercial agenda involved, since for prizes such as the Booker the nominations originate with publishers, whose hope is that sales will increase on the titles concerned if they are picked.

Your post also suggests that there is no merit in reading modern fiction, and that we should be delving back into the classics and looking for great lost books. I disagree. Good literature is good literature, regardless of whether it was published in 2008 or 1808. There are books that have things to say about the time they were published that would seem obscure just a few years later.

15skoobdo
Redigeret: maj 9, 2008, 4:30am

My thread is solely my opinion.We must use our instinct whether this "hot" bestseller titles are good for our reading. More than 200,000 new titles in UK are published every year as stated in your thread (Grammath) offered us a wide choice for readers to choose. I agree with (Grammath) that the internet "provides numerous message boards and blogs" where the bloggers post their reviews other one's own "bookworm" friends' books' reviews "gossips".Modern fiction ( titles published in this century) is one of my favorite genre and can be classified as "modern literature", and there is merit and "time well-spent" reading them.The publishers in our present time should be careful and sensitive to the present popular literary tastes as (Grammath) stated that "Man Booker Book Award" originated from the publishers' book nominations, and this is good.I am
not stating that we should read only "classics" and "great books" only.