In the past two or three years, the Man Booker Prize has become my favorite literary prize. I don’t always love the winning books but I admire the controversy that their judging process invites since they post a “long list” of finalists (this year that included these 13 books) and after a few weeks, they narrow it down to a smaller pool – this time, the short list is composed of these 6 books:
- Milkman by Anna Burns
- Everything Under by Daisy Johnson
- The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
- The Overstory by Richard Powers
- The Long Take by Robin Robertson
When the long list was made public, I declared my intentions to read all the books before the short list announcement. Living in the US, that can prove a difficult feat since the Man Booker Prize is UK based and to be considered, many of the nominated books had to have been published there, even if they haven’t yet been made available in other countries. At the time the list was whittled down, 5 of the 13 books still have not been published in the US. In order to read all the long listed books, you either have to order an electronic copy or purchase it on an British website – Book Depository is a popular choice since they offer free shipping, even if delivery does take about 2 weeks.
Of the 6 novels on the short list, I have read 2 and am hoping to read the others before the award on October 16. I haven’t loved either of the ones I have finished thus far, even if I can see why the judges might have chosen them to go forward. A long list book that I thought was a much more worthy contender was The Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan (Click to read my review). I don’t have a prediction of the winner yet but I am excited by the conversation that this latest round of judging has sparked. I’d love to hear your thoughts too.
Do you value the results of book prizes as TBR recommendations? Are you reading the Booker shortlist?