The 2015 Man Booker Prize Shortlist

I really didn’t pay much attention to the Man Booker Prize until this year but it seems to be getting a lot of attention from the book bloggers and vloggers I follow and I thought I’d check out some of the shortlist. It seems like a great way for someone like me–relatively inexperienced in modern literary fiction writers–to find a place to start reading in the genre. Especially since the Man Booker prize has in recent years opened itself up to submissions from writers outside the UK adding some diversity to the selection of long and shortlisted works.

So, though it’s a bit late in the game to start this, I thought I’d set myself the goal of reading and reviewing all six shortlisted novels, hopefully sometime before the end of 2015 (The prize winner will be announced October 13, but I definitely will not get finished that quickly!)

Here’s the list, if you haven’t seen it already, and I’ll link my reviews up here once they are posted as well. Let me know if you’ve been checking out the shortlist, and, if so,who you predict will win! I’ve been hearing lots of buzz around A Little Life but I know A Brief History of Seven Killings and The Year of the Runaways have been very well loved by those who’ve read them as well:

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy

The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma

The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

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September TBR

I don’t post a monthly TBR anymore (and if you remember the days that I did, then congrats on being an old-timer, I think it’s been more than a year). But last night I was looking at my currently reading shelf on Goodreads and the stack on my end-table, which essentially serves the same function, and vowed I would finish all of my currently reading books by the end of September. So, since public embarrassment is actually a pretty good motivator for me, here’s the list of books I have completed at least a percentage of, but want to finish by the end of the month:

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Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas-This one won’t be a stretch to complete; it’s my newest “current” read, I’m enjoying it greatly and I should have it done by the end of this holiday weekend.

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The Fiery Cross by Diana Gabaldon – I’ve had this one marked “currently reading” for three months and I have been reading it on and off that whole time–pick it up for a few minutes, listen to an hour of the audiobook in the car, but only once a week or so, in and amongst other things. I’m liking it and am slowly starting to get hooked back into the Outlander world by it, but the slow start hasn’t been helping it out.

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The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald – My book club picked this one and I didn’t quite get finished before skimming to the end and going to the meeting anyway, but I want to go back and read the last 100 or so pages properly because I was really enjoying Fitzgerald’s writing and style with this.

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Geek Love by Katherine Dunn– Another book club pick I was enjoying, but got too busy to finish in time to attend the meeting. I set it down in favor of the next month’s pick (Half of A Yellow Sun–I did finish and was great and a great choice for a discussion group) but I do want to finish it.

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Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – I am nearly done with this very interesting, exceedingly excellent graphic memoir, but I lost momentum on it when I left it behind when I left for vacation at the end of August. Now that I’m back, it’s time to finish it out.

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Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee-I bought this the day it came out and made a pretty good dent in it the first two weeks I had it but I set it down in favor of something else. It’s not terrible, but I start feeling kind of stressed out about it every time I pick it up, constantly monitoring my own reaction to everything that happens in it. I want to finish it, now that the buzz has died down a bit and I have come to realize that it is not really at all a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird and that no matter what happens, the two stories are separate entities and TKM won’t be improved or destroyed by the newcomer.

August Reviews

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I spent this month watching another three and half seasons of Supernatural on Netfilx, so this will be a short post one once again, even including comic books in the mix. Only three more seasons until I’m caught up and hopefully back to a more robust reading schedule once again!

22736613Hold Me Closer by David Levithan

It’s been a really long time since I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson, but I wasn’t too lost diving straight into this companion “musical novel”. It was funny and sweet, packing a little more punch than I thought it might going into it. as we explore Tiny Cooper’s life from childhood all the way through his parade of ex-boyfriends up to and including Will Grayson.

449251Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A multi-character, multi-layered story done fantastically well. Adichie explores romantic and familial relationships and the good and bad of humanity in war-time in this novel set during Nigeria’s 1960’s Biafran War. She centers the story on five Biafran characters whose stories are immediately and clearly intertwined, creating a story that offers multiple perspectives, but is still narrow enough in scope to feel intimate. I disliked the timeline jump forward, then flashback/flashforward that happened in the middle of the book, but otherwise the structure of this worked quite well, as not one of the multiple POV characters was less interesting than the rest since all of them had such poignant things to show and say about love and war and guilt and goodness. Definitely recommended.

6954438Sweet Tooth Vol 1: Out of the Deep Woods by Jeff Lemire

A strange post-apocalyptic tale about a sheltered boy who ventures out on his own after the death of his father. This takes a little getting used to, and it’s fairly slow moving, but I enjoyed the mystery and action elements of this and I think Gus will be an interesting character to follow as he learns more and more about the realities of the world outside his woods.