Back in July, I was collating all things Booker at Shiny. One thing I did was to try to obtain a copy of every single Booker Prize winning novel for photos – I scoured the local charity shops and bought cheap copies online, and of course, I already had a goodly number of them on my own shelves. I managed to get all but the Newby, the very first winner which was too expensive. Revisiting all the prize-winning novels as the reviews came flowing in from Shiny’s wonderful team of reviewers around the glove was lovely.
There are many Booker winners I have read including: William Golding, Roddy Doyle, Margaret Atwood (need to re-read that one), Peter Carey’s Oscar & Lucinda, J.G.Farrell’s The Siege of Krishnapur, Kingsley Amis, J.M.Coetzee’s Disgrace, Kazuo Ishiguro, Michael Ondaatje, Pat Barker, Stanley Middleton and DBC Pierre.
There are many Booker winners I have long wanted to read: Penelope Fitzgerald, Penelope Lively, Kiran Desai, Anita Brookner, Julian Barnes, Graham Swift – and I’m still on the fence about A.S.Byatt and Salman Rushdie so they stay for now. Around half of these were already on my shelves.
There are winners I hadn’t considered reading but now want to: George Saunders, Paul Beatty, V.S.Naipaul (R.I.P.), Bernice Rubens, Jan Martel (yes, I’ve never read Life of Pi!), Arundhati Roy, even James Kelman. Having bought copies of these and getting my Paul Beatty one signed, they’re staying on the shelf.
There are some Booker winners that I would never choose to read, unless for book group of course: including Iris Murdoch, Ben Okri, David Storey, Barry Unsworth, and Nadine Gordimer, and not forgetting The Finkler Question! My copies of these will go to the charity shop – I know I’d have to re-buy them if book group picked them (which is unlikely), but it frees up the shelf-inches.
There are some winning titles I owned before that I no longer have an urge to read at all: Can you guess which they might be?
In the case of The Luminaries, I think it was a case of automatic buying – in fact, I had to re-buy this one for the Booker photoshoot! I’d already got rid of my original hardback which I bought when it won.
I just can’t bring myself to devote the time and energy to Hilary’s epics though… I saw and really enjoyed Wolf Hall on the telly, and have read so much about it, the only reason to read it would be for appreciating Hilary’s prose, which having previously tried and failed with A Place of Greater Safety, is obviously not for me in her historical works. I’ve decided that as Wolf Hall has conspicuously sat there on my shelves since 2009 when I bought it – OVER NINE YEARS AGO – always staring at me with its red spine, that I’m never going to read it, nor the sequel(s).
Don’t tell me these novels are the best thing since sliced bread – they’re just not for me. OK?