I have a friend whose criteria for buying books is that they have that little magic line stamped at the top of the cover that says – NY Times Bestseller. It’s a great plan, I think.
For me, I’m always on the lookout for the sticker that says the book was nominated for or won an award. I started a reading challenge to read books that have won the Pulitzer prize for Fiction but I’ve since decided I also want to read other awardees and nominees. There are many prestigious awards for novels and novelists including the Nobel Prize for Fiction, the Pen Hemingway award, and The Man Booker Prize.
The Man Booker Prize is awarded every year to original fiction novels published in English in England by authors from England, the UK and the Commonwealth. For a long time, that was the criteria, anyway. A few years ago, it was expanded so any English language novel can be considered. Last year, Jamaican novelist, Marlon James won for A Brief History of Seven Killings. Another, separate prize called the Man Booker International Prize was also recently initiated, and this one can be awarded to any living author from anywhere in the world. Han Kang was the most recent recipient, winning the prize for The Vegetarian in 2016.
The Man Booker Prize also lists the novels that are shortlisted for the award so I decided to conduct my own judging. I’ll choose a year and read all the books that were shortlisted and see if I agree with the choice of awardee. I settled on 2013 because I already own a couple of the books and have a couple of the others on my TBR.
On the 2013 short list was:
- We Need New Names /NoViolet Bulawayo
- Harvest /Jim Grace
- The Lowland /Jhumpa Lahiri
- A Tale For The Time Being /Ruth Ozeki
- The Testament of Mary /Colm Toibin
- The Luminaries /Eleanor Catton (Winner)
Sometime this year, I plan to read all 6 books. I’ve already started on the first book on the list. If you’ve read any of these, I’d love to share thoughts with you about it.
What’s your criteria for buying or reading a book? Do you go off recommendations from other people? Do you look for the Bestseller notation on a cover? Or do you just give any book a chance?
Sharing this link on Broke and Bookish for lists of Top Ten Books I plan to read this Spring.