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Literary Awards


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Posted on 21 Sep 2013 19:02:50 BDT
I Readalot says:
I enjoyed - if that is the right word - Vernon God Little and The Blind Assassin. Not overly keen on Midnight's Children, not of fan of Rushdie at all actually but apart from winning the Booker it won the Booker of Bookers. I think that Life of Pi is over rated though I know that many people will completely disagree with me.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2013 21:21:54 BDT
monica says:
Thank you, IR and Val. I've read Restraint and C. of Strangers & am slightly surprised that they were short-listed--particularly in the case of the former. Had a look at the others you mentioned, Val, and they seem more what I'd expect of Booker books, with domestic &/or historic elements playing large part. Actually, Little Stranger appealed till I noticed the number of pages in it . . .

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2013 21:29:36 BDT
monica says:
Karen, unless the befriending woman seduces the kid and then begins to stealthily murder at random, recounting all the while these things in a terse, despair-ridden diary, not dark enough to compensate for a lonely person befriending a child.

It's actually very interesting to see your & other posters' takes on the various books, though. (But I'm still waiting for predictions.)

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2013 21:41:27 BDT
monica says:
You know, I get that some people are content to read one cowboy/romance/self-help, etc., book after another all their lives long. I think it's a shame, but I get it. I get that some people read highly technical tomes on electromagnetism or on historical figures in the Dark Ages for pleasure. I admire them though I don't envy them. But someone who could 1) read every word of The Blind Assassin, and 2) enjoy doing so would be as alien to me as someone who asserted that string instruments made of granite produced the best sound--that's *not* a metaphor for Atwood's book--I'd simply never ever be able to get it.

Posted on 22 Sep 2013 22:34:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 22 Sep 2013 22:37:21 BDT
"Would you rate "Amsterdam" above all those?"

Yes. Not as good as his others (though IMO few of the post-Atonement books have been worthwhile), but still better than any of the ones I mentioned. As you said, it was a case of 'right author, wrong book.' Both Enduring Love and Atonement would have been worthy winners.

I Readalot:

"but apart from winning the Booker it [Midnight's Children] won the Booker of Bookers"

All of which might never have happened, but for a single vote. Malcolm Bradbury, Chair of the Booker that year, was determined that the prize would go to D.M. Thomas for The White Hotel. He couldn't get enough support, so it went to Rushdie instead.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Sep 2013 22:56:46 BDT
I Readalot says:
That's the way of literary prizes though, I wonder how often the choice is actually unanimous, an element of compromise has to come into it. As I said I don't personally rate the book but mainly because I don't get on with Rushdie's style but I have met a lot of people who do. In fact he won the Best of Booker twice, both for the 25th and 40th anniversaries. I haven't read enough of the winning books to know whether or not the acclaim is justified whereas the people who made the decision have read them all.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Sep 2013 12:53:08 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Sep 2013 12:56:21 BDT
VCBF (Val) says:
Sorry they aren't to your taste monica.
No domestic &/or historic elements then. Hmm, James Kelman?
Sammy is one of the least domesticated characters I have come across and he is more interested in the here and now than history (or art, philosophy, politics, etc.).

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Sep 2013 20:13:57 BDT
monica says:
Karen, unless the befriending woman seduces the kid and then begins to stealthily murder at random, recounting all the while these things in a terse, despair-ridden diary but not in Scots dialect, not dark enough to compensate for a lonely person befriending a child.

Sorry, Val, I truly am trying (in both senses) here. I have enjoyed reading some of the formerly listed books but my tastes aren't really mainstream and I suspect the rules for submissions are very likely to lead to the lists consisting mainly of books with a fairly wide appeal.

Posted on 23 Sep 2013 21:22:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Sep 2013 21:32:10 BDT
I Readalot,

I don't mean to be rude...but when you mentioned MC winning the Booker of Bookers before, I saw it, and I already knew that anyway. My point is that very award would never have been bestowed if not for a single vote back in 1981.

Apparently, it was a similar story when both Life and Times of Michael K and Last Orders won in 1983 and 1996, respectively. In 1980 the bookies said it was a two horse race between Anthony Burgess and William Golding. When the judges actually met, Burgess was ruled out almost from the getgo, and Golding finally won only as a compromise.

Posted on 23 Sep 2013 21:31:18 BDT
Last edited by the author on 23 Sep 2013 21:34:24 BDT
Btw James Kelman was a worthy winner, and to hell with Julia Neuburger!

The 1989 shortlist was probably the best, and the 1998 shortlist the worst.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2013 20:12:13 BDT
Not sure why the scots dialect would make it darker, but the book was plenty dark for me. The domestic violence and alcohol abuse was what made it dark for me. And she didn't exactly invite the child in, they broke in. It was still rubbish!

Posted on 24 Sep 2013 20:37:43 BDT
I don't like books written in dialect (Although I am a Scot) And domestic abuse and violence - I want to be uplifted. I know I have written about it myself, but briefly. I'll give this one a miss.

In reply to an earlier post on 24 Sep 2013 21:06:42 BDT
monica says:
Karen, just to make it clear that I wasn't getting at your post--I copy & pasted my reply to you (adding the bit about dialect to tell Val why I was rejecting yet another suggestion) as much as anything as a way of mocking myself for being so unreceptive to many of the books mentioned here . . .

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2013 09:48:08 BDT
I get you Monica. The book you describe above sounds like a really dark book, wouldn't fancy it much from the premise ;-)

I actually love books in Scots, and I am one too. I know that quite often puts people off but depending on the novel I find it adds a bit of authenticity. But that may be because I can understand it, if it was written in another dialect I don't understand then I probably wouldn't like it so much so that is fair enough.

Which book was the one written in Scots?

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Sep 2013 13:57:34 BDT
monica says:
The James Kelman.

I don't in general like reading any sort of dialect, especially when it's rife with apostrophes and spellings twisted to reflect pronunciation. I can deal with: ' "He's, like, watching one of them gas shows on RTE," she said in a heavy Dublin accent', but not with ' "He's loike watchin' one a dem gas shows on OreTE," she said.' (RTE is our national broadcaster.)

Posted on 25 Sep 2013 16:43:11 BDT
I Readalot says:
I would love to see 'A Tale for the Time Being' win, no dialect but a fair amount of Japanese, which is either explained at the time or has a footnote. Covers a lot of ground, WW2 and kamikaze pilots, the tsunami and earthquake, bullying, prostitution, Buddism and quantum physics. At times funny but has sad and very shocking moments, with an element of magical realism. Everything links together somehow and it is very readable. However I do think that Harvest will win. If it does there will be the usual mutterings but hey, that is the Booker prize, or any other literary prize come to think of it. Besides an element of dissent and controversy is a good thing for all concerned as it helps to keep the 'also-rans' in the public eye for a bit longer.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2013 09:32:48 BDT
My bookgroup chose A Tale... as our next read so I am quite pleased, I do quite fancy this one. Looking forward to reading it.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2013 17:53:13 BDT
I Readalot says:
Be interested to hear what you and your bookgroup make of it.

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Sep 2013 18:08:25 BDT
I shall let you know in early November I Readalot!

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Sep 2013 10:09:59 BDT
VCBF (Val) says:
There is rather too much of that representation of dialect in How Late It Was How Late, although it works for the book. I've run out of ideas for recommendations now.

Posted on 2 Oct 2013 10:21:53 BDT
I Readalot says:
Less than 2 weeks to go, Crace is definitely the favourite but the judges might surprise everyone yet. I know a lot of people knock the Booker and all other literary awards but they do give a boost to the industry as a whole from the author to the humble bookseller. That is in addition to putting the spotlight on authors who you possibly have never read before. The judges must be all read out by the end, this year they had 151 at the start and not long to read them all in.

Posted on 8 Oct 2013 21:19:07 BDT
I Readalot says:
The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Physics reminded me of the Nobel for Literature which will be announced on Thursday, I will probably be logging on to see the announcement.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2013 11:02:17 BDT
Ethereal says:
O/T - I received an email from your address which was clearly spam and didn't click on the link, looks like your email has been hijacked. I must still be on your address book from when we corresponded some time ago, I didn't reply as that might risk getting more but thought I'd give you the heads-up if you haven't already been alerted. A couple of years ago the same thing happened to my OH's email and it lasted about a year, he warned his contacts to block him and the spammers seemed to eventually give up so he can use it again.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Oct 2013 11:56:57 BDT
I Readalot says:
A lot of that going on Ethereal, very annoying.

I just wish that whoever doesn't think that any of these posts add to the discussion would have the guts to come out and say why, maybe they are a top reviewer who is afraid that they will get their reviews negged if we know who they are, some of them can be really paranoid!

Posted on 10 Oct 2013 12:33:41 BDT
I Readalot says:
Well Alice Munro won the Nobel, 13th woman to win and it has been awarded 106 times.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  14
Total posts:  129
Initial post:  11 Sep 2013
Latest post:  18 days ago

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