Monday, August 04, 2008

The 2008 Man-Booker Prize Longlist

The longlist for the 2008 Man-Booker Prize has been announced. The full list is given below.

The White TigerAravind Adiga
Girl in a Blue DressGaynor Arnold
The Secret ScriptureSebastian Barry
From A to XJohn Berger
The Lost DogMichelle de Kretser
Sea of PoppiesAmitav Ghosh
The Clothes on their BacksLinda Grant
A Case of Exploding MangoesMohammed Hanif
The Northern ClemencyPhilip Hensher
NetherlandJoseph O'Neill
The Enchantress of FlorenceSalman Rushdie
Child 44Tom Rob Smith
A Fraction of the WholeSteve Toltz

I hate to admit it, but I only recognize one entry in this year's long list, and that is Salman Rushdie's The Enchantress of Florence. The other authors and books are unknown to me. This is a bit embarrassing, but in my defense I have not had a lot of time to read over the past year, and my local library does not carry most of these titles. Not having a lot of time to read is not a good excuse. The reality is that when I have sat down to read books I have tended to read pulp rubbish like Sandworms of Dune (yes, I am a Dune fan) or non-fiction. In fact, most of my recent reading has been non-fiction. I certainly could have made more of an effort to keep up with the literary world. The other reason, the lack of these titles in my local library, is hard to overcome. I get most of my reading material from my town's public library. It is cheap, it supports public libraries, and I usually have a good selection of books to choose from. The fact that they only carry five of the thirteen Man-Booker nominees is disturbing, but given that the Man-Booker prize is for fiction by a Commonwealth author, not a US author, that is not too surprising.

So, my goal for the next month is to plough through as many of the five titles that are in my local library as I can in the next month. I expect to get through two or three by the time that the short list is released. The short list will be announced on 9 September and the winner will be announced on 14 October.

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