I thought I would sneak in a quick post before my final book review of the year and my posts on my top reads of the year go live over the next few days before a shiny new year opens before us. (I love a new year, have I mentioned this before, it is like the epic version of a night of new bed linen.) Anyway, I have been having a small sorting out of the shelves before the new year begins and discovered, to my slight horror, that I there have been lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of books that have come out this year that I have meant to read, haven’t and have that slight ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’ feeling about them all. There were about 50 – just a small amount – but I whittled it down to 22 (I am rubbish at whittling down, very good at whittling on) and here they are in no particular order…
I Saw a Man – Owen Sheers
Girl at War – Sara Novic
Fates and Furies – Lauren Groff
Delicious Foods – James Hannaham
The Year of the Runaways – Sunjeev Sahota
The Heart Goes Last – Margaret Atwood
The Shore – Sara Taylor
The Fisherman – Chigozie Obioma
Devotion – Ros Barber
Daydreams of Angels – Heather O’Neill
Did You Ever Have a Family – Bill Clegg
Before the Feast – Sasa Stanisic
Beatlebone – Kevin Barry
Public Library – Ali Smith
Music for Wartime – Rebecca Makkai
Trans: A Memoir – Juliet Jacques
An Account of the Decline of the Great Auk, According to One Who Saw It – Jessie Greengrass
I’m Jack – Mark Blacklock
The Loney – Andrew Micheal Hurley
The Not Dead and The Saved – Kate Clanchy
Mislaid & The Wallcreeper – Nell Zink
I am not a believer in regrets or of ‘what if’s’ so I have simply decided to be excited about the fact that a) books don’t go anywhere unless you remove them from your life yourself b) these will all be out in paperback over the next year so I can talk to you about them all then. Plus I am 95% sure I am going to love these as people I know who read them really, really did. Are these going to be my first reads of 2016? No. I have decided I am going right off on reading tangents next year, more on that in the next few days. I just thought I would share these ones with you in the interim. We all love a selection of books and a bookshelf to nosey at don’t we?
Have any of you read any of these and what did you make of them? Which are the books you should have, would have, could have read?
So yesterday I had fun guessing what the Man Booker Longlist would be and now, as I you all want to know what it is before you hear my possibly garbled thoughts on it, here are the books that Ellah Allfrey, John Burnside, Sam Leith and Frances Osborne all judged as being super special and the finest fiction…
- Bill Clegg (US) – Did You Ever Have a Family (Jonathan Cape)
- Anne Enright (Ireland) – The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)
- Marlon James (Jamaica) – A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)
- Laila Lalami (US) – The Moor’s Account (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)
- Tom McCarthy (UK) – Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)
- Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)
- Andrew O’Hagan (UK) – The Illuminations (Faber & Faber)
- Marilynne Robinson (US) – Lila (Virago)
- Anuradha Roy (India) – Sleeping on Jupiter (MacLehose Press, Quercus)
- Sunjeev Sahota (UK) – The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
- Anna Smaill (New Zealand) – The Chimes (Sceptre)
- Anne Tyler (US) – A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)
- Hanya Yanagihara (US) – A Little Life (Picador)
Surprise surprise as I was absolutely nowhere near correct as I only guessed three. What are my initial thoughts? Well, since you asked so nicely, I think that the list is as always an interesting one. I have read ? of them and am obviously thrilled about A Little Life being on the list, I may even have done a little dance in the lounge which is only for the eyes of my cats. I am also really excited to see Chigozie Obioma and Marlon James on there. I think what is interesting is that some of the big hitters everyone expected to be on the list aren’t. No Ishiguro, no Atwood, no Atkinson (boo), no Toibin etc – which I actually find quite exciting. Firstly all those books are selling like hotcakes so that’s them sorted, secondly it means there are some books that will get a chance to be discussed that might not have been. In the industry we all know of Tyler, Enright, McCarthy and Robinson but outside of the industry is that the case? And then there are even more to discover, I want to read Sahota pronto now, I loved his first. My only minor niggle is Gattis not being on the list, oh and where are all the Australian and Canadian authors. Anyway… I need to mull it all over a little more but overall I think its an interesting list I may well delve into. As it stands I want Yanagihara to win.
So what are your thoughts on the longlist? Which of them have you read and what did you make of them? Which ones are you now planning on reading? I am asking the latter question myself. I might go for all the ones I haven’t you know, maybe…
One of the joys of blogging was meeting lots of new people and getting very excited about books. Three years ago along with Paul Magrs, Nick Campbell and joined by Lesley Cookman I started on an exciting new venture co-founding a prize for LGBT literature of all kinds which eventually, after a small glitch with the initial name, was called The Green Carnation Prize. Well just over three years later the prize has changed a little bit yet the current team of judges, and one is an old ropey judge who refuses to leave, has brought you a very exciting longlist of thirteen books which are…
- Carry The One – Carol Anshaw (Penguin)
- Are You My Mother? – Alison Bechdel (Jonathan Cape)
- Ninety Days – Bill Clegg (Jonathan Cape)
- The Purple Shroud – Stella Duffy (Virago)
- Absolution – Patrick Flanery (Atlantic Books)
- A Perfectly Good Man – Patrick Gale (4th Estate)
- Scenes From An Early Life – Philip Hensher (4th Estate)
- Tony Hogan Bought Me An Ice Cream Before He Stole Me Ma – Kerry Hudson (Chatto & Windus)
- Snake Ropes – Jess Richards (Sceptre)
- Hawthorn & Child – Keith Ridgway (Granta Books)
- Valentine Grey – Sandi Toksvig (Virago)
- Moffie – Andre Carl Van Der Merwe (Europa Editions)
- Jack Holmes and his Friend – Edmund White (Bloomsbury)
It is nice to be able to share at least the titles of some of the books that I have been secretly reading away over the past few months. Alas, I can’t tell you exactly what I thought of these thirteen because there is the short listing and the winning announcement to go, but it might be time to start telling you about some of the amazing books that didn’t make the longlist this year… because that is how good the submitted books were this year.
Always keen to get in on the act, a certain Oscar cat is now casting his eyes over the selected few and will be accompanying me in some re-reading. However I think I might have a week of reading just what I fancy first.
So what do you think of the list? Have you read any of them? What do you think might make the shortlist? Are there any you are surprised not to see? Are you going to give any of them a whirl? All thoughts, as always, most welcome.
Full details and thoughts from all the judges, and updates over the next few weeks, on the Green Carnation Prize can be found on the website.