Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The 2015 Booker Dozen: A U.S. Reader's Guide

When last year's Booker Prize longlist was announced, I was very, very pregnant. As excited as I was for the first year the Prize was open globally, I was mostly thinking, "am I going to have a baby today?!" I did not have one for many more days. But this year, I found myself getting really excited. I didn't even pretend to predict which titles would make it, as the Prize is so wide open now, and the longlist relatively short at 12-13, it seemed fruitless. Instead, I found myself hoping for books I've loved to make it. I got one wish: The Green Road by Anne Enright. I adored this novel, and I'm thrilled to see that it's longlisted (and that Enright is the only former winner on this year's longlist.) Here it is (covers take you to Amazon, links to my reviews.)

The Ones I've Already Read

The Green Road by Anne Enright (4.5 stars)
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (4 stars)

The Ones Available in the U.S. Now

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
The Illuminations by Andrew O'Hagan
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

The Ones Coming (Somewhat) Soon to the U.S.

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (September 8, 2015)
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota (March 1, 2016)

The Ones We Hope Make Their Way to the U.S.

Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy
The Chimes by Anna Smaill

total page count (via Amazon U.S): 4882

Quick thoughts: As I said, I'm thrilled to see the Enright. I'm surprised to see Anne Tyler here, just as I was surprised to see it make the Baileys Prize short list. It's a good novel, but I didn't find it to be extraordinary. And if we're talking compelling family sagas, I still can't shut up about The Shore by Sara Taylor, which I'm devastated to not see on the longlist. Overall, I think it's an intriguing and relatively diverse list. I'm most surprised to see Bill Clegg here, but I am looking forward to his novel, even if I didn't love his first memoir.

The longlist always comes with at least a few titles that weren't on my radar at all, and this year brings Sleeping on Jupiter by Anuradha Roy, an author who has been on my TBR list for years. I didn't know she had a new book out in the UK, so I'm thrilled to have it on the way from The Book Depository. The other new-to-me title is The Illuminations by Andrew O'Hagan. I have no idea why I haven't heard of it, but it sounds right up my alley. 

I'm not committing to reading the entire longlist, even if this year's judges seem to share my affinity for novels of a reasonable length (under 350 pages for me.) There are only two and a half chunksters (novels between 400-500 pages aren't quite chunksters, but 480 pages is pretty close.) I'll be very curious to see what makes the shortlist in September (obviously), and I'm looking forward to reading most of these, as most were already on my neverending TBR.

Now tell me: what book are you most excited to see on the longlist? What book are you most devastated to see left off?

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  1. So glad A Little Life made the list. It was such a wonderful read.

    1. Ti, I've been avoiding it because of its length, but I'm excited to dig in!


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