Friday, 19 June 2009

Man Booker

Don't you just love lists? I adore making lists of books that I want to read although I seldom stick to the rigidity of a list and often deviate from it. Stay tuned in the coming week for my summer reading list, which thus far only appears in my mind.

This year I am steadily progressing through the list of the Guardian's 1000 Books You Must Read and by year's end I should have completed one fifth of it, so that list will be taking me some time. Another list that I will probably want to embark on later this summer is the Man Booker Prize longlist, which will be announced at the end of July. So far I have dabbled with longlists and shortlists for the main literary prizes and only read ones that appealed to me but now that I am blogging I may make a conscious effort to complete the entire longlist, or at least the shortlist.

Thinking about the Man Booker prize and having requested J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace this week from the library I thought I would list the Booker winners that I have read (and those I own but have not yet read). There's a possibiility that I may try to read all of them - are there ones you have read that you particularly recommend or ones that you are wanting to read?

2008 - White Tiger by Aravind Ariga
2007 - The Gathering by Anne Enright
2006 - The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (own)
2005 - The Sea by John Banville
2004 - The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst (reviewed here)
2003 - Vernon God Little by DBC Pierre (own)
2002 - Life of Pi by Yann Martel
2001 - True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey
2000 - The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
1999 - Disgrace by J.M. Coetzee 15/07/09 (reviewed here)
1998 - Amsterdam by Ian McEwan (own)
1997 - The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
1996 - Last Orders by Graham Swift
1995 - The Ghost Road by Pat Barker (own)
1994 - How Late it Was, How Late by James Kelman (own)
1993 - Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle (own)
1992 - The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
1992 - Sacred Hunger by Barry Unsworth (joint winner)
1991 - The Famished Road by Ben Okri (own)
1990 - Possession: A Romance by A.S. Byatt (own)
1989 - The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
1988 - Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
1987 - Moon Tiger by Penelope Lively
1986 - The Old Devils by Kingsley Amis
1985 - The Bone People by Keri Hulme (own)
1984 - Hotel Du Lac by Anita Brookner 29/07/09 (reviewed here)
1983 - Life and Times of Michael K by J.M. Coetzee
1982 - Schindler's Ark by Thomas Keneally
1981 - Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
1980 - Rites of Passage by William Golding
1979 - Offshore by Penelope Fitzgerald
1978 - The Sea, the Sea by Iris Murdoch (own)
1977 - Staying On by Paul Scott
1976 - Saville by David Storey
1975 - Heat and Dust by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
1974 - The Conservationist by Nadine Gordimer
1974 - Holiday by Stanley Middleton (joint winner)
1973 - The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell
1972 - G. by John Berger
1971 - In a Free State by V.S. Naipaul
1970 - The Elected Member by Bernice Rubens
1969 - Something to Answer For by P.H. Newby

Nine -soon to be ten- of forty two winning novels is not great but neither is it woeful. Funnily enough I haven't read anything that won before the year I was born and wonder if this is telling at all or just coincidental? As an aside: Midnight's Children (the Booker of Bookers and the Best of Booker) is one of my favourite novels; I love its lushness and epic, grand scope, and continually discover new gems upon re-reading. Anyway, best get back to reading as I have a lifetime of reading lists ahead of me.


claire said...

I have always enjoyed the Booker winners that I've read in the past and so recently also set the task of challenging myself to read all of them. Luckily I had over ten titles already read when I started. My list is here.

I say you start with the books you own first, after you're done with Disgrace (which is great, by the way, so I hope you enjoy!). I don't think you will ever go wrong with any of those titles, unless you are very very picky. :)

Read The Remains of the Day, for sure, and The English Patient, and.. um.. all the rest?? Sorry this is no help but if you looked at my list, I recommend all the ones that I've read as I loved them all, except for two that are also technically good but which I didn't enjoy as much as the others (The Sea and Hotel du Lac).

claire said...

By the way, what did you think of The Gathering? I'm too afraid to touch it as I have yet to read a positive review.

Also what do you think of Moon Tiger? I started it before but it never took off for me so I stopped. I hope to give it another try someday, when I'm in a different mood.

Paperback Reader said...

Oh, Claire, I wish I'd seen your list before I painfully copies all of the winning titles out! Haha.

It was great to see yours (and your other reading projects - btw, seeing as you love GGM please read Chronicle of a Death Foretold as soon as you can! It's my favourite of his).

Most of the copies I own are still at home with my parents but I'm going home late summer so will pack those when I do. After Disgrace I think I'll read The Famished Road.

Um, one of the reasons I am blogging is because I have such a hopeless retention for books! Neither The Gathering or Moon Tiger made a lasting impression but I did like them both. Moon Tiger is interesting, especially the style, but it is a little difficult to get into. The Gathering is bleak and raw and I found the chronology confusing but it is well written.

FleurFisher said...

For me there are two standouts on the Booker list that you seem to have not read - Possession and Oscar & Lucinda. I also remeber Staying On and Heat & Dust being pretty good, but it's a long time since I read them. I've not been grabbed by the recent winners I'm afraid.

JoAnn said...

I loved The Sea! I started listening to it, but there were so many passages I wanted to reread that I got a copy from the library, too. I loved the reader's voice and got into a pattern of listening in the car and rereading at home in the evening. I'm not sure the experience would have been the same just reading or just listening though.

I also really liked The Sea, The Sea. "Do you suppose it's just the water?" asks the blogger from Lakeside Musing.

farmlanebooks said...

I'm trying to read them all. I've read 16 so far.

I saw you asking about the Gathering, and I am one of the few people who really enjoyed reading it. That is strange for me, as I don't normally like books without a plot, but for some reason I loved it.

verity said...

I am a big fan of lists too :) I think I have read 13 of them, and have The white tiger on my tbr bookcase. I feel I should have read more of them since they were obviously acclaimed for some reason, but I guess I am less likely to have come across the earlier ones.
I hope you enjoy the Coetzee; I loved Disgrace, and I loved Youth, but some of his other books I found slightly too strange.
I also really enjoyed reading The gathering, definitely a worthy winner, although there were some other good titles on the shortlist that year.
I definitely recommend the Pat Barker, especially as you own it, and would agree about the English Patient and The remains of the day which others have highlighted.
For me, I think I might seek out Graham Swift's Last orders as I've enjoyed his other books immensely.

Karen said...

I read the White Tiger and loved it - different from the books I normally enjoy and not necessarily a main character I could say I liked but I loved the book.

Paperback Reader said...

Thank you all for your suggestions! I think beyond Disgrace I will read The Famished Road and then ... we shall see. A good friend recommended The Bone People so I may try that.
I really appreciate your input and looking forward to reading your choices and sharing my thoughts with you.

JoAnn, it may indeed be the water! especially as you muse lakeside.

claire said...

Wow, thanks to all the comments I am now convinced that I should finally give The Gathering a try, and especially seeing as you liked it! I also loved The Sea, The Sea and Possession and The White Tiger. I also really liked The Famished Road, too, but it is quite different. Enjoy!! You have such good reading ahead of you. I haven't been progressing much, have read only Hotel du Lac this year, I think. I'll get back on the project as soon as I finish this year's reading challenges!

I will try to find a copy of Chronicle of a Death Foretold. I don't want to borrow from the library but because I want to keep him, but also do not want to buy full price, lol. So happy used and bargain hunting to me.

Sarah said...

Of what I've read on the list, my favourites are Possession, Oscar and Lucinda and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

I still have Midnight's Children to look forward to, and after reading Rushie's Paris Review interview recently, I am keen to start.

Paperback Reader said...

Claire, I hope you enjoy The Gathering; Anne Enright's short stories are also very good. Having studied some Irish Literature, Enright is typical of the genre; it is one of the rawest and evocative outpourings of literature from any country and Enright contributes to that.

I understand your logic regarding Chronicle of a Death Foretold! I was lucky enough to receive the majority of his work in lovely editions for Christmas one year.

Sarah, thank you for stopping by and commenting! I hope you enjoy Midnight's Children. I want to read the Paris Review Interviews soon.

Savidge said...

I have always (well until recently the more I have read) preferred the shortlisted books to the winner, maybe this is a sign that I will never be a Man Booker Judge! Love reading other peoples lists of what they have and havent read. I ahave only read 8 winner I think!

Paperback Reader said...

Savidge, thanks for commenting! Reading 8 of the Booker winners is till mighty impressive although I agree that I too have read more of the "losers".

Reading other people's lists is often enjoyable; I find it intriguing, especially when they differ so much from my own and find myself wondering how they encountered the books they have read, especially when some I have never heard about.

Samantha said...

I was going well with 8 read (2 unfinished - The Famished Road and Possession) until I got to 1990 and then I have only read one before that year - Schindler's Ark. I think this is fairly accurate as I wasn't a big reader until I finished university.

Paperback Reader said...

Samantha, that makes sense; some of the older ones I hadn't heard of until now. I had to read for University so that's why some of them -like Midnight's Children- came up for me.

Doigy said...

I've read 6 out of this list and may well read some more. After the painful experience of reading the shortlist last year, I have decided NEVER to do so again. 'White Tiger' is one of the worst books I have ever read but on the other hand, I really enjoyed 'The Secret Scripture' which should have won.

Paperback Reader said...

Thanks, Carsten! Way to encourage me to read the shortlist/longlist this year! I'll wait until I see what's on it... I have an awful feeling that Home by Marilynne Robinson will be and I don't want to read that. perhaps James Kelman's Keiron Smith will be, seeing as it has just won the Scottish Book of the Year.
I am planning to read The Secret Scripture at some point too.

verity said...

Why don't you want to read Home? I'm really looking forward to reading that (eventually.....TMBTLT (too many books too little time).
I enjoyed Gilead immensely.
The secret scripture is definitely worth reading. And I also loved The northern clemency from this year.

Paperback Reader said...

Neither Gilead or Home appeal to be, Verity, and I am being stubborn. I may be completely wrong and end up loving the books but the hype around Marilynne Robinson annoys me for whatever reason. I can be deliberately ornery at times!